Sri Lanka in England 2009 September 26, 2008

Doubts resurface over Sri Lanka's England tour

Cricinfo staff

Doubts over whether Sri Lanka's Test series against England in May 2009 will actually take place have resurfaced after The Times reported that Durham, who host the second Test, have been told by the ECB to hold fire on selling tickets.

The series clashes with the latter stages of the IPL, and a number of the Sri Lankan squad have signed lucrative contracts to play in that. Sri Lanka Cricket, however, stands to earn around £1 million from the England matches and is keen for them to go ahead. The tour was arranged earlier this year after the scheduled visit by Zimbabwe was scrapped by the ECB.

Although the itinerary has been announced and both boards have said the trip will go ahead, there remain major question marks over who exactly Sri Lanka will send. If it is a weakened side then there would be concerns about the viability, not to mention the credibility, of the series.

Around a dozen players maintain that they were given assurances that they could honour their IPL commitments before the tour was agreed.

The ECB's concerns that the series will be treated as of secondary importance will have been heightened by comments from Gamini Lokuge, Sri Lanka's sports minster, following a meeting with SLC officials earlier this week. "I want the contracted players to honour their commitments with the IPL," he said. "I don't want the tour to England be called off. But the team on English soil can have non-contracted IPL players."

Earlier this month, Arjuna Ranatunga, the interim committee chief of SLC, insisted the tour would go ahead. "We have a memorandum of understanding with the England and Wales Cricket Board for the tour and we must honour that," he said.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • M Shakir on September 29, 2008, 9:37 GMT

    If IPL has such an impact on International matches why not lift the ban on ICL?

  • Lalith on September 27, 2008, 12:05 GMT

    Money ruins everything..values, ethics and patriotism everything! That is the world trend now. In anycase, England would be happy to play against a second tier Sri Lanka team than Zimbabwe.

  • Edmund on September 27, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Hey, I've got an idea - why don't we play Zimbabwe instead? Would they be any stronger than a weakened Sri Lanka?

  • Pubudu on September 27, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    This is quite sad to see. A national test tour should take precedence over any IPL event. Ranatunga was doing the right thing by standing upto the IPL juggernaut, first saying the tour will go ahead, then allowing ICL players back in. But he is constantly being undermined... politicians like Lokuge should stay out of cricket.

  • amal on September 27, 2008, 1:19 GMT

    Cricket has become just another money earning business.There are no players who would like to play for their country.that's why they prefer IPL to england tour.I thoroughly agree with Arjuna Ranatunge's decision to go ahead with the English tour.I would like to see the tour go on with a weakened side which would include young and energetic players rather than the aging ones that are playing currently.However England would not like this at all but they will play their full side as they could easily win the series and move themselves up in the rankings.My guess is that we will see this trend more often than not in the future.

  • John on September 26, 2008, 21:30 GMT

    I don't see any value in playing test cricket against a weakened side. England players will welcome a break after a couple of long tours this winter. They can play some county cricket or in the IPL and be more refreshed when the Ashes begin.

  • Chatty on September 26, 2008, 21:24 GMT

    There is no point playing in England in April and May. It is always miserable in England at that time of the year and SL will be beaten not by the England team but by the weather. So, unless the series can be postponed, SL should not play.

  • Homer on September 26, 2008, 21:22 GMT

    So let me understand this then

    1. The British Government forces the ECB's hand vis-a-vis Zimbabwe, thus jeopardizing its prospects to host the World Twenty20 Championship (and the small matter of losing in excess of 10 million pounds). 2. The ECB has, in the meantime, signed a 300 million pound deal with Sky which requires it to host 7 Tests and ODIs(10. 15,?) every season. 3. Per the FTP, England are scheduled to play Zimbabwe for 2 tests next year. This could cause the ECB to default on its contract. 5. This prompts the ECB to sign up Sri Lanka for a 2 Test 5 ODI series in exchange for a substantial monetary remuneration.

    But wait - the England-SL Test series schedule overlaps the previously announced second season of the IPL, causing significant monetary loss to IPL contracted players ( during what should have been their down time)

    And yet, the question asked is "Are Sri Lanka right to allow their players to take part in the IPL rather than tour England? "


  • Harvey on September 26, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    I would rather see England decline to play Sri Lanka if they're going to send a weakened team. It's hardly as if the ECB's going to be short of revenue (or cricket) next summer, is it? Whilst I detest Twenty20 and the IPL, the ICC needs to make a window for the latter to avoid international cricket being undermined in this way. It might mean slightly fewer international matches, but there was too much 50-over cricket being played by most countries in any case.

  • bill on September 26, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    As the Schofield Report suggested that England played too much cricket we should scrap this tour and let the England players play in the County Championship so that the real fans can see their Heroes playing. We must do something to preserve the purity of Test Cricket and Test records which would be put at risk by playing the Sri Lankan leftovers XI.

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