Thursday, October 23, 2008

West Indies on standby to replace Sri Lanka

West Indies are on standby to replace Sri Lanka if, as it is feared, Sri Lanka Cricket send an under-strength XI to England next May.

A number of Sri Lanka's leading players are contracted by the Indian Premier League, and there are concerns that the likes of Kumar Sangakkara will be allowed to fulfil these highly lucrative contracts instead of playing for their country. The consequence would either mean Sri Lanka fielding a substandard team, or the total cancellation of the tour.

The Daily Telegraph revealed at the weekend that the ECB have asked the West Indies to be on standby and, although they too have players in the IPL, they are expected to honour playing for their country.

If the substitute tour materialises, it would mean six Test matches between the two countries inside four months. England are due to play a four-Test series in the West Indies next February and March.

An ICC spokesman told Cricinfo that they still expected Sri Lanka to honour the tour, in spite of the cancellation fears.