Sri Lanka’s cricket tour of England likely to go ahead

October 15th, 2008 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 15 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s tour of England next year is likely to go ahead despite a lucrative cash offer from the organisers of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to the Lankan board, according to the International Cricket Council (ICC).“In respect of the FTP (Future Tours Programme) tour of Sri Lanka to England in 2009, I believe that the chairman of Sri Lankan cricket, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board and other board chairmen have had meaningful discussions such that an FTP event will take place on the scheduled dates in England next year,” ICC president David Morgan said here Wednesday.

He was speaking to reporters after the conclusion of the two-day ICC board meeting.

IPL chairman Lalit Modi has reportedly offered the cash-strapped Sri Lankan board $40 million for long-term release of their players for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)-backed annual Twenty20 event.

If the deal goes through, it will force the abandonment of Sri Lanka’s tour of England in April-May next year.

Asked whether it has already been decided that Sri Lanka’s tour will go ahead, Morgan said: “Very good progress has been made in discussions Arjuna Ranataunga (Sri Lanka Cricket chairman), Giles Clarke (England and Wales Cricket Board chairman) and other board chairmen have had.”

“I would like to say that in our deliberations these past two days, there has been a good recognition of the primacy of ICC and FTP events,” he added.

The ICC president’s comments came after Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge announced that a five-member cricket delegation from his country would arrive in India Oct 18 to finalise the deal with IPL.

Sri Lanka’s 13 best cricketers are contracted to the IPL. Their IPL salaries are many times higher than what they receive from their own board for international cricket.

The ECB would expect to receive compensation of around $2 million from Sri Lanka if they cancel the tour. If Sri Lanka sends its second rung team to England, it would be liable to suspension from ICC and international cricket for “non-acceptable non-compliance”.

India has also agreed to play another tri-nation series in 2010, which will bring in additional money to SLC.

ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said that it was an issue for Sri Lanka and England to resolve.

“My understanding is that Sri Lanka is making progress with England and that’s an issue which they will need to resolve. From ICC perspective, international cricket is very important and we must do everything in our power to protect nation-versus-nation cricket,” Lorgat told IANS.

Sri Lanka is scheduled to play two Tests and three one-day internationals during their tour of England.

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