Monday, March 24, 2008

Sri Lanka's tour must not clash with IPL - Mendis

Sri Lanka have asked Pakistan to schedule their bilateral one-day series, which was proposed to fill the gap caused by Australia's pull-out, so that the dates do not clash with those of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Arjuna Ranatunga, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman, had agreed in principle to a one-day series in Pakistan after Australia postponed their tour due to security concerns but the reported dates were between April 23 and May 5, which coincide with the IPL, which runs between April 18 and June 1.

"We have told Pakistan that we are keen to help Pakistan only if it [the series] did not clash with the IPL," Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of the SLC, told AFP. He said that the SLC had already released players for the IPL.

Cricinfo had reported that the IPL could affect the series because several Sri Lankan and Pakistan players had been bought by the franchises during the first auction on the basis of their availability, and a newly scheduled series would be an inconvenience. The PCB said that it was willing to offer SLC $800,000 for the five ODIs but only if they sent their full team.

Player sources denied any pressure was placed on SLC by the cricketers to delay the tour: "Media speculation over the weekend that some of Sri Lanka's players might have been considering an early retirement or a series boycott to play in the IPL rather than tour Pakistan is totally unfounded. Playing for Sri Lanka is the No 1 priority."

Meanwhile, Niranjan Shah, the secretary of the BCCI, which is running the IPL, told Cricinfo he had contacted officials of the PCB and the SLC regarding the proposed series. "But it was just at the proposal stage. So we didn't go any further into it," Shah said.

Indian Premier League