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July 16, 2008
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is still in discussions with the ECB about the status of their tour to England next year, according to Graeme Labrooy, the Sri Lanka Cricketers' Association (SLCA) secretary.
SLC had earlier said that they would revert to the players' body by Wednesday on the tour, which clashes with next year's Indian Premier League, but Labrooy said that "with informal discussions still going on between SLC and the England and Wales Cricket Board, we now expect to be updated by the weekend".
"I have been informed by SLC that discussions are still going on, and some clarity may come through by the weekend," Labrooy told Cricinfo. "I believe the discussions basically revolve around how best the tour can go forward, whether the tour schedule can be reworked or whether the IPL franchises can release some players for the tour and so on. But we are not pushing SLC because the tour is still a year away and the players are right now focussed on the India series starting on July 23."
It's believed the SLC interim committee, headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, is scheduled to meet soon to discuss the issue.
Sri Lanka's proposed tour to England clashes with the IPL, for which 13 top Sri Lankan cricketers, include Mahela Jayawardene, their captain, Kumar Sangakkara, the vice-captain, and Muttiah Muralitharan, have signed three-year contracts.
On July 8, the ECB announced the dates for Sri Lanka's visit, which starts with a warm-up game against Leicestershire on April 21, and ends with the third and final ODI against England on May 30. But two days later, following an intervention from the country's president on behalf of the players, Mendis announced the Sri Lankan players would be allowed to appear for the IPL and that a compromise would worked out with the ECB.
The tour was firmed up during the recent ICC conference in Dubai, where Ranatunga agreed to the ECB's request to fill in the slot vacated by Zimbabwe for the 2009 season.
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