Deep resentment over IPL-Sri Lanka deal

October 14th, 2008 - 6:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 14 (IANS) The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to discuss, at its two-day executive board meeting starting Tuesday, the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) lucrative offer to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) that has irked the member-countries like England, Lalit Modi, the chairman of the IPL, has reportedly negotiated a deal with Sri Lanka’s sports ministry, promising it a whopping $70 million in return for guarenteeing their top players’ participation in the IPL for the next 10 years.

The deal has left ECB fuming as the IPL schedule is clashing with England’s home Test series against Sri Lanka in May.

As things stand, the Sri Lanka tour of England is most likely to be scrapped though the ECB has not received any official communication. Compensation is the least that the ECB would expect, but the bigger question is who is running international cricket.

ICC president David Morgan has already condemned the deal in no uncertain terms, saying the world’s governing body has pledged to maintain the sanctity of Test cricket and such deals are “unacceptable.” And so has Haroon Lorgat, the ICC’s chief executive, who insisted on “Test cricket’s primacy”.

The issue is likely to be debated hotly at the board meeting here as ECB feels that ICC needs to reaffirm its control over the game and not allow the money-minting Indian cricket board to hijack it.

Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, is expected to condemn India’s behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings at the meeting.

England feels if the ICC does not control the game by enforcing an international calendar to suit all, then, rather than moving into a luxurious new offices in Dubai’s sports city, it might as well just turn out the lights.

The ECB’s main problem is that it is not only the 13 Sri Lankan players who want to play in the IPL, several England players will also be hoping that next summer’s Sri Lanka tour collapses.

Modi’s aggressive scheduling of the IPL to clash with England’s May Test series has also prevented sought-after England cricketers such as captain Kevin Pietersen from maximising their IPL earnings.

Although some England players expect to play in the IPL next spring, they will be allowed a fortnight at best in a competition that runs from April 10-May 25 before the Sri Lanka series.

If reports are to be believed, the deal being discussed with Sri Lanka could soon be offered to Pakistan. The likely outcome therefore is that the ICC’s Future Tours programme will be designed around whatever extravaganzas that India wants.

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