Sri Lanka’s tour of England in jeopardy

July 10th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, July 10 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s tour of England in 2009 is in jeopardy after the country’s president, Mahinda Rajapakse personally intervened Thursday to safeguard the earnings of the players who are scheduled to participate in the second season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Thirteen Sri Lankan players including Muttiah Muralitharan, Chamara Kapugedera, Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Zoysa, Chamara Silva, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis, Dilhara Fernando, Sanath Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga are members of various teams in the IPL.

According to The Guardian, Rajapakse blocked next May’s tour and instructed that it must be trimmed or cancelled after he heard the grievances of Sri Lanka’s players. The President also told the Sports Minister, Gamini Lokuge, to meet Sri Lanka Cricket’s interim committee Thursday to draw up alternative proposals.

The tour as planned would limit the players to just the first 10 days of next season’s IPL, which runs from April 10 to May 25. The players want a compromise whereby they arrive in England no earlier than May 20. That would leave room for either two Tests or five ODIs, or just one Test plus three ODIs which was agreed only last week at the International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting in Dubai.

The ECB meanwhile is in a quandary because a seven-Test summer in 2009 is stipulated in the TV rights deal and the survival of May Tests in England is now severely threatened by IPL. The Sri Lanka deal had been arranged after the suspension of the bilateral arrangements with Zimbabwe.

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