Sri Lanka and New Zealand can agree cancellation December 28, 2004

ICC will not block tour being scrapped

The confusion over whether Sri Lanka's tour of New Zealand should go ahead deepened with a statement from Sri Lanka Cricket saying it was bound by the ICC's rules to carry on, while the ICC told Cricinfo that it had not been approached by either SLC or New Zealand Cricket to discuss the situation.

What was clear was that the players have no appetite to stay in New Zealand. At a team meeting earlier today, they made their feelings quite clear to board officials.

Mohan de Silva, SLC's president, issued a statement in which he said that the tour had to go ahead because of ICC rules which could result in them being fined were they to call it off. "SLC, while sharing some of the views of the players, have not had much option but to continue with the tour," he said. Cancellation could, he explained, "result in heavy financial penalties and other ramifications."

But an ICC spokesman told Cricinfo that no approach had been made to it to discuss the matter, and that there was no truth in claims that there would automatically be financial penalties were the tour to be curtailed. The likely scenario would be for the boards to agree to reschedule the tour for later in the year.

As it stands, the two boards concerned - SLC and NZC - are able to reach agreement and postpone the tour without any need to refer to the ICC. Earlier this year, Australia and Zimbabwe agreed to postpone their Test series because of exceptional circumstances, even though Australia were already in the country. No financial penalties resulted from that decision.

The only time the ICC would possibly get involved would be if the two boards could not agree. SLC could then appeal to the ICC citing the extenuating circumstances. de Silva's comments suggest either that SLC does not understand the rules as they stand, or it is looking to pass responsibility for cancellation on to the ICC.

What is clear is that the only body whose approval is needed for the tour being cancelled is NZC. And it seems inconceivable. in the light of the human disaster in Sri Lanka, that it would raise any objection.