Sri Lankan cricket July 9, 2008

Sri Lankan board to discuss IPL clash with England tour

Cricinfo staff

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Sri Lankans in the IPL
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Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will hold a meeting of its executive board on Thursday to discuss its team's tour to England next year that will force its national cricketers to miss a chunk of the second season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Duleep Mendis, the chief executive of SLC, has said.

The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Tuesday announced the dates for the Sri Lanka tour in 2009, which starts with a warm-up game against Leicestershire on April 21 and ends with the third and final one-day international against England on May 30. Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman, has already announced that the second season of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament would be held from April 10-May 29, 2009.

This would mean that Sri Lanka's top 13 cricketers who have been signed by the eight IPL teams, including Mahela Jayawardene, their captain, and Kumar Sangakkara, their vice-captain, would be available to play for only the first 10 days of the tournament.

"We have to discuss all these issues and we will," Mendis told Cricinfo. "We will sort them out during our executive board meeting tomorrow. The meeting will discuss the England tour dates and the IPL issue."

Asked whether SLC would allow its players to skip a few early matches in England to play in the IPL, Mendis said: "our executive board will have to decide on this."

Thursday's board meeting is also expected to discuss the new players' contracts in Sri Lanka. According to a Reuters report, the Sri Lanka players, who returned home from Karachi on Wednesday after winning the Asia Cup, have not been paid since February.

The report said that senior cricketers have agreed to a freeze in their central contract fees this year, but demanded junior members of the national squad and the A team get substantial wage increases. Other stumbling blocks include player image rights clauses, a demand that cricketers cancel lucrative media contracts and a proposed change in contract dates due to negotiation delays, the report added.

Mendis said that he could comment on these issues only after the board meeting.

Sri Lanka's England tour slots in the fixture gap caused by the ECB's decision to suspend bilateral ties with Zimbabwe and the cancellation of their 2009 visit. An ECB spokesman told Cricinfo that talk of a glitch in the tour arrangements was "pure speculation".