Ranatunga boiling hot over IPL, England tour controversy

September 7th, 2008 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 7 (IANS) Getting tough with the national players who are refusing to compromise with the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) for the proposed England tour, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Interim Committee Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga stressed that he would not budge from his stand in honouring Sri Lanka’s tour obligation with England next year.“As far as SLC is concerned we will not change our decision to send the Sri Lanka team to play in England. We have signed an MoU with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and we have to honour that,” the State-run Sunday Observer quoted Ranatunga, well-known as “Captain Cool” as saying.

The former World Cup winning Sri Lankan captain Ranatunga, who was well-known for backing players on and off the field during his playing days, has reportedly said that his duty was to look after Sri Lanka cricket even if the players went ahead and retired from the national team to partake in the IPL tournament.

Claiming that SLC had “never signed” a contract with the IPL contracted Lankan players permitting them to play in the IPL whenever they wanted to, Ranatunga has said that the players were given “the green light to play only in the inaugural IPL tournament”.

“They need to sign a two-year contract with the ICC and SLC even if they are to retire and go to the IPL,” Ranatunga said.

Sri Lanka are due to play two Tests and three one-dayers in May next year and the time table is clashing with the 2009 IPL tournament, which was ironically approved by SLC for the national players to play.

The players argue that the IPL contracts had been signed long before the idea of a tour to England was mooted and want to go ahead with their initial commitments.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardane, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Pervez Mahroof, Thilakaratne Dishan, Dilhara Fernando and Ajantha Mendis are some of the key players who have signed three-year contracts with the IPL.

According unconfirmed reports, some players are even contemplating retiring from the national team in order to honour the IPL contracts they have already signed.

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