Morgan hopeful Sri Lanka will tour
David Morgan, the ICC president, has expressed his confidence that Sri Lanka's tour of England next May will go ahead as planned, despite fears that a number of their leading players will instead opt for the financial lure of the IPL.
"In respect of the FTP tour of Sri Lanka to England in 2009, I believe that the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket and the ECB chairman, along with other board chairmen have had meaningful discussions such that the event will take place on the scheduled dates in England next year," Morgan said at the conclusion of the ICC's two-day board meeting in Dubai.
"Very good progress has been made in the discussions that Arjuna Ranatunga (SLC chairman), Giles Clarke and other board chairmen have had. I would like to say that in our deliberations these past two days, there has been a good recognition of the primacy of ICC and FTP events."
Ranatunga, Sri Lanka's former captain in the 1990s, has been unequivocal in his support for Test cricket. Understandably, he is aware of the financial benefits the IPL can provide to his players and happy for them to participate, but only "subject to them being available for any commitments with Sri Lanka Cricket at any given time."
However, Sri Lanka Cricket - a board whose finances aren't as healthy as some - are in negotiations to seal a US$70-million bailout deal with the BCCI. Many fear that the financial clout will sway players to opting for cash over country.
"As far as we are concerned, the tour is part of the FTP and there is no reason why it won't go ahead," an ICC spokesman told Cricinfo.