Sri Lanka sports minister irked at ban being lifted on ICL players

September 22nd, 2008 - 4:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Sep 22 (IANS) The Sri Lankan sports minister is reportedly irked at the decision of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee to revoke the local ban on the national cricketers who have signed contracts with the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL). According to a local media report here Monday Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said that he was left in the dark on the decision to lift the local ban and stressed that he had the right to overturn the ruling by the interim committee running the SLC.

“I don’t want our board to be against the Indian Cricket Board or the ICC. I have invited the board members for a meeting (Tuesday or Wednesday) to convince me about their decision (on revoking the ban),” Lokuge was quoted as saying by the Colombo-based Daily Mirror newspaper.

“The decision by the interim committee was not taken with my consent and I am entitled to re-impose the ban,” the sports minister said.

A spokesman for the SLC confirmed to IANS Monday that the sports minister has called a meeting either on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The SLC interim committee led by its chairman and Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning cricket team caption, Arjuna Ranatunga, decided last week to lift the local ban on the ICL players to play domestic cricket games, but the ban on them playing at the international level to represent Sri Lanka remained untouched.

The decision by the SLC came at a time when the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) slapped a 10-year ban earlier this week on players joining the ICL.

The previous interim committee of the SLC, led by Jayantha Dharmadasa, imposed a total ban on all national cricketers playing the ICL tournament, preventing them from taking part in all forms of cricket and cricket-related activities locally and internationally.

It, however, allowed the national players to play the lucrative Indian Premier League.

Most of its senior players including skipper Mahela Jayawardane, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Pervez Mahroof, Thilakaratne Dishan, Dilhara Fernando and Ajantha Mendis have signed three-year contracts with the IPL.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has already expressed its dismay over the SLC decision to revoke the local ban on the ICL players and vowed to take up the issue with the ICC.

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