India to play five ODIs in Sri Lanka
India have confirmed a short series in Sri Lanka next month comprising five ODIs and one Twenty20 game and placed renewed faith in their bilateral ties, which had hit a low during the previous administration headed by Arjuna Ranatunga.
The dates for the proposed Indian tour are yet to be finalised but N Srinivasan, the BCCI secretary, told reporters in Colombo that the series will be held during the two-week window in Sri Lanka's Pakistan tour itinerary - January 28 to February 14. Duleep Mendis, Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) chief executive, stated that the venues will be Dambulla and Colombo. "We are in the process of finalising the venues," Mendis said. "Most probably the Colombo venues will be the R Premadasa Stadium and the SSC."
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), on their part, have committed their players to the IPL in April and assured the Indian board of its support on the ICL issue. Under Ranatunga, the Lankan board had refused to commit their players for the IPL and allowed five players associated with the unofficial ICL to take part in a domestic tournament. Ranatunga was subsequently sacked by Gamini Lokuge, the Sri Lankan sports minister, who has the final say in the country's cricket administration.
A long term agreement between SLC and the IPL is to be signed on the day of the Twenty20 match between the two countries.
"We have agreed to play five ODIs and a Twenty20 match and all pertaining matters in regard to the two governing bodies were solved," Lokuge said at the SLC headquarters in Colombo. "The SLC has agreed to release its players for the upcoming IPL tournament and we are to come to a long-term agreement concerning the Twenty20 showpiece.
"India and Sri Lanka had a good relationship when it came to cricket. Today we have strengthened that. As a result more tours will take place between the two countries in time to come. We have also come to a conclusion to stand by the BCCI stance with regard to the ICL.
"We've also decided to support India at the ICC meetings. The (country's) president himself has given his blessings and we are happy that things have worked out in a positive way."
Srinivasan expressed his pleasure at the cordial welcome given by his Sri Lankan counterparts. He also expressed satisfaction at the decision taken by SLC to release its players for the IPL starting in April, and for firmly standing by the BCCI with regard to the ICL issue.
"BCCI as always will be committed to support SLC in the future," Srinivasan said. "The exact dates and venues are yet to be finalised and probably we will be able to release the tour plan and the duration by tomorrow (Wednesday) to the press."
Srinivasan denied the BCCI had any role to play in Ranatunga's ousting. "We have no right to interfere into any matters of SLC. They are sovereign like us, the BCCI. The BCCI has never expressed its concerns over the way SLC has been ruled in the past. We are very sorry for the impression that has been created."
Sri Lanka are due to play three ODIs in Pakistan in the first leg of their tour and resume the second leg for two Tests after the India series.