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Sri Lanka Ireland tour could weaken IPL

David Hopps

January 3, 2014

Comments: 26 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene gestures during a training session, Abu Dhabi, December 30, 2013
Mahela Jayawardene could be one player involved in a Sri Lanka-IPL conflict © AFP
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Ireland play two ODI's against Sri Lanka early next season. The games will serve as a warm-up for Sri Lanka's tour of England and could clip the involvement of Sri Lanka's players in IPL still further.

It remains to be seen whether Sri Lanka Cricket will enforce their policy that their players must put internationals ahead of participation in IPL for matches involving an Associate nation.

If they do, it will not rest easily with Sri Lanka's IPL contingent, who would have preferred the Ireland trip to take place after the England tour in late June when a cursory examination of the fixture calendar suggests there does seem to be an opportunity.

The announcement of the Ireland tour comes barely a month before the IPL auction on February 12 when franchises have been given the liberty to make substantial changes to their squads.

It also comes on the same day that Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lanka chief selector, questioned Thisara Perera's work ethic and asked him to work harder as the board moved to deny the allrounder permission to participate in the Big Bash League.

Ireland's coach Phil Simmons certainly sounded confident of the involvement of Sri Lanka's IPL crew in the matches - both scheduled for Clontarf on Tuesday May 6 and Thursday May 8 - when he flew off to Sri Lanka, coincidentally, for a two-week tour with the Ireland A squad.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for our squad to face players of the calibre of Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews, Tillakaratne Dilshan and of course Lasith Malinga," he said. "They're going to be tough opposition but Irish conditions in May will be to our advantage."

Now even matches against Associate nations are clashing with IPL, it does beg the question yet again why there is not more appetite within the Indian board and the ICC for arranging a suitable gap in the calendar - whether official or not - for the biggest and most lucrative domestic T20 tournament

Simmons, though, had reason to be delighted. "Ireland need as many matches as possible against Full Member sides: it's how we measure ourselves now in terms of our cricketing progress," he said. "We'll be gearing our preparation towards the 2015 World Cup, and this series is ideal.

"Last year couldn't have gone much better in terms of the fact that we won three trophies and continued our domination against our fellow Associates. We did, however, miss opportunities to claim victories against both Pakistan and England when in strong positions.

"We'll be looking to take our cricket to the next level in 2014 by winning from these types of situations, pressing home our advantage when we're on top."

Warren Deutrom, Cricket Ireland's chief executive, said: "We are most grateful to Sri Lanka Cricket for giving us this opportunity. It is clear to all in the game that our performances against the Full Members are becoming increasingly competitive in all formats, and this is another opportunity for us to convert strong match positions into ranking points.

"Along with our series in the Caribbean and the World T20 this is a strong start to the year and, win or lose, another chance to demonstrate that we belong at this level."

Sri Lanka, who have only visited Ireland once before, might find that the "warm-up" means something quite different in Clontarf in early May.

Their previous visit was at Eglinton in 1979 when Ivan Anderson's century helped Ireland secure a draw in the first-class match.

In more recent times Ireland lost their only ODI encounter by eight wickets in the 2007 World Cup, a game which marked the end of Adi Birrell's tenure as Ireland coach. The teams met again in a thrilling game at Lord's during the 2009 ICC World Twenty20, when Ireland lost by just nine runs to the eventual finalists.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by akhilesh0109 on (January 7, 2014, 15:24 GMT)

@jonathanjoseph sanga was dropped midway by srh, Mathews was replaced by finch, although for a misfiring pwi outfit. I do agree that ireland deserves matches and series against full nations and Sri Lanka have moved in the right direction but it is the timing of the series that raises eyebrows. Does Sri Lanka cricket need such a series clashing with the IPL ?? And this after media had raised a hue n during the clt20 regarding the country vs franchisee issue related to sanga.. It was seen a few months back what BCCI had done to it's supposed ally CSA.. I'm not of the opinion that SLC should bow down to BCCI but they can definitely weigh the pros n cons of such a decision considering the financial help BCCI can offer to SLC..

Posted by rajithwijepura on (January 5, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

Even playing with associate team is better than playing meaningless domestic T20 tournament. This as @Shantul said this should not even a big story to consider. SL must play with Ireland and they will play. End of discussion...

Posted by abc3 on (January 5, 2014, 4:35 GMT)

Every single one who is posting here will not think twice to leave their current job if a new employer comes forward and offers them a job with 25% - 50% hike from their current salary. But they want the cricketers to sacrifice their million dollar paycheck and play inconsequential series against an associate nation which was just arranged in last minute by their jealous board to rob their players of their rightful earning. Yes, the same Jayasurya hanged on for long into his 40's to earn his livelyhood for as long as he can. Why didn't he retire early to given a youngster a chance. it doesn't happen. Less said about Ranatunga the better. He just had to piss in the same pool he drinks by picking a fight constantly with a board (BCCI) who stood by his board for long time providing them financial support whenever they were in trouble. he might be a great player but as an adminstrator he is chief architect of ruining SL cricket. Their adminstrators still haven't learned how to run this.

Posted by Shantul on (January 4, 2014, 20:43 GMT)

I do not know why IPL fixtures are big deal? because it is just another domestic T20 league. I don't even think this is a topic of consideration for ICC to talk about. It is BCCI job to organize when and how again Domestic T20. If ICC does arrange a free calendar time for IPL, then ICC needs to do the same with BBL , Friends life T20 and other countries T20 leagues.!! If that happens there will be no more international cricket!!!

Posted by SriLankanYoungBlood on (January 4, 2014, 14:16 GMT)

@ azeemparayil Somewhat agree with bro. But At lest his strike rate is Good.in ODI if he face 40 balls he will get 50. In T20 he will 65-70 out of 40 balls. But when Sanga or Dilshan play 40 balls they can't get at least 20 runs. Kusal failed in sluggish wickets of England in Champions Trophy and West Indies but he succeeded in Sub Continent. He played 57 agaianst NZ(2 T20), 84 against 2nd T20 pak,64,47 against 1st and 5th ODI. Current best cricketers like David Warner,Alron Finch also fail in early part of their career.don't forget he is still 23 year's guy.

Posted by Lion83 on (January 4, 2014, 13:20 GMT)

No IPL .and they should give priority to international matches.

Posted by asvanand on (January 4, 2014, 12:29 GMT)

I live in Dublin and wanted to see a match at Clontarf. But every match played here is on a weekday :(

Irish cricket can pull fans if they organise matches in the weekend.

Posted by gudmiddle on (January 4, 2014, 9:54 GMT)

As a totally neutral cricket fan, I urge the cricket authorities to facilitate more international fixtures with talented cricketing nations such as Ireland. We need a fresh 'injection' of cricket. It is time for the talented non-test playing nations of Ireland and Afghanistan to be inducted into the international cricket calendar. There is now, more than ever, a need to keep all the test playing nations on their toes. Like many boxers who step into the ring, Ireland and Afghanistan will always have the 'eye of the tiger', the hunger and desire to deliver knock out blows. What a feast of cricket that would provide for us all.

Posted by Yousufahmed1 on (January 4, 2014, 7:24 GMT)

@ Nuwas Pak's best players did play IPL initially then they were not allowed. So please don't misdirect. I wish SL cricket well but they regularly cancel Test matches to play ODI cricket.

Posted by Nuwas on (January 4, 2014, 7:09 GMT)

SL has given initiative as always in creating NEW Trends in Cricket.Hopefully other cricketing nations take direction from SL & get together to play more international level True Cricket than those leagues.If no better International teams are opting to play proper Cricket,lets give Ireland & other wanting teams the chance. I'm pretty sure one by one other nations will follow SLs direction as they realise the mess they're getting into in the internation arena. Kudos to Pakistan for not allowing their best players in IPL, they knew it best from the very beginning. Long live True Cricket...

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David Hopps David Hopps joined ESPNcricinfo as UK editor early in 2012. For the previous 20 years he was a senior cricket writer for the Guardian and covered England extensively during that time in all Test-playing nations. He also covered four Olympic Games and has written several cricket books, including collections of cricket quotations. He has been an avid amateur cricketer since he was 12, and so knows the pain of repeated failure only too well. The pile of untouched novels he plans to read, but rarely gets around to, is now almost touching the ceiling. He divides his time between the ESPNcricinfo office in Hammersmith and his beloved Yorkshire.
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