SLC seek postponement of South Africa Tests
Sri Lanka Cricket has requested a postponement of the three-Test home series against South Africa scheduled for July and August next year, until 2014 or later, in order to accommodate a triangular one-day series. That tri-series, involving West Indies and India, is itself a rescheduled fixture, after Sri Lanka's two Tests in the West Indies that clashed with the end of the IPL were culled from the fixtures list.
Instead of touring the West Indies before the Champions Trophy in June, the tri-series will now take place after the Champions Trophy, meaning there is not enough time to play the Tests against South Africa before the SLPL is set to begin. CSA has said it is reviewing SLC's request, but they will have to weigh up broadcasters' interests before taking their decision.
"We are not keen on cancelling Tests," CSA acting chief executive Jacques Faul said. "It goes through a process where we send it to the team management and then the logistics manager. We try to help other countries as much as we can but they will have to give reasons for wanting no Tests. When you cancel Tests, you've got to be careful because there are broadcasting issues."
The request to change the tour programme is a continuation of the SLC's recent trend of culling Tests from Sri Lanka's schedule. In addition to the Tests in the West Indies that have been scrapped, two Tests against India in July this year became five ODIs, and a Twenty20 and the three Tests scheduled for England in March became a two-Test series as the IPL approached.
SLC CEO Ajit Jayasekara said the SLPL "always had a window" in Sri Lanka's international schedule, and was not the reason SLC has requested the Tests to be rescheduled. According to the Future Tours Programme, South Africa's tour, which included five ODIs and three Twenty20s, would have begun early in July and ended late in August. The SLPL is likely to begin in early August.
While the dates of the Test series are as yet unclear, the two boards have agreed to play five ODIs and two of the three Twenty20s scheduled for the tour. Jayasekara said that given Sri Lanka will have recently played the Champions Trophy and the tri-series, it would be more beneficial for the team to play more limited-overs cricket, instead of doing away with the limited-overs matches to make way for Tests. If the three Tests are postponed, Sri Lanka only have four Tests scheduled between January and December in 2013, against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.
South Africa last toured Sri Lanka in 2006 when they played two Tests; the rest of the tour was cancelled after the visitors pulled out due to security reasons.
Additional reporting by Firdose Moonda
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka