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October 24, 2008
The IPL should not be held responsible for the cancellation of Sri Lanka's tour of England, the league's commissioner, Lalit Modi, has said. The ECB and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) mutually agreed to postpone the 2009 tour as the England board weren't keen on hosting a second-string Sri Lankan team, with most of their established players given the go-ahead to take part in the IPL.
Modi, speaking at the Global Sport Summit in London, said the IPL had been scheduled keeping in mind the ICC's Future Tours Programme, and Sri Lanka's tour of England was a later addition after Zimbabwe .
"It is always portrayed the Indian Premier League is stopping the Test matches being played. There was never a scheduled Test in the first place," he said. "The Sri Lankan tour would breach the contract with the Indian Premier League."
The IPL, he said, took into account the ICC's fixed programme and signed players on three-year contracts.
"The Sri Lanka board gave their players a no-objection certificate for three years to play in the Indian IPL," Modi said. "Unfortunately the Zimbabwe tour to England was cancelled. The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) had an obligation to Sky television to bring another team in."
Modi, like before, said the league would want to have England players turning out for the franchises in 2009. "We would love to have the English players play for the IPL. We have the top 100 players in the world in the IPL and they are the only players missing.
Modi said there might be a quid pro quo agreement between the ECB and the BCCI over participation of players in their respective Twenty20 leagues - the English Premier League is set to begin in 2010. "The ECB has approached the BCCI and the IPL with the objective of saying they are ready to provide non-objection certificates to the English players to play in the IPL.
"But there is a big catch to it," he said. "The ECB are set to launch the English Premier League and the quid pro quo is that if the ECB was to release their players, then the IPL must release a minimum of 20 players for the English Premier League.
"It has to go to a governing council and the BCCI board for approval. In the absence of that approval we will continue the way we are," he said. "I hope the English players can participate but I cannot guarantee that."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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