Sri Lanka news September 29, 2008

Influx of Twenty20 tournaments unhealthy - Jayawardene

Cricinfo staff

Mahela Jayawardene: "It is very difficult to hold four different Twenty20 tournaments per year with players being dragged from one tournament to another" © AFP

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lankan captain, has said the rise in the number of Twenty20 tournaments "isn't a healthy sign" for the future of international cricket and called on the ICC to strike a balance between the three forms of the game.

Jayawardene was speaking after doubts resurfaced whether Sri Lanka's proposed tour of England would go ahead as scheduled in April-May 2009 as it clashes with the latter stages of the IPL's second season. As many as 13 players, including Jayawardene himself and Kumar Sangakkara, have signed lucrative contracts to play in IPL but the board isn't prepared to shift the dates of the tour, despite players showing an inclination towards the cash-rich league. The tour was arranged earlier this year after the scheduled visit by Zimbabwe was scrapped by the ECB.

"What happens now is that there are Twenty20 tournaments springing up everywhere and therefore it becomes more of a circus if I may put it in that sense," Jayawardene told Sri Lanka's Sunday Observer. "It has also led to the current impasse that has occurred in our cricket. I feel that all these issues could be sorted out, if the ICC and the cricket boards of the countries can come to an understanding and sort things out for the satisfaction of all concerned.

"I think this is not a very healthy sign at all. It is very difficult to hold four different Twenty20 tournaments per year with players being dragged from one tournament to another. It is not an ideal situation because once players get pushed about, they will start to make decisions on their own, like what has happened now."

Jayawardene also urged the ICC and the cricket boards to work towards creating a window in the international calendar to allow all players to compete in one major Twenty20 tournament. "All I can do is to give my views with regard to this issue when I am quizzed and if the authorities can act on it, I think it will make a difference in the long run," he said.

Incidentally, Jayawardene will lead a team to Canada next month for a short four-nation Twenty20 tournament also featuring the hosts, Zimbabwe and Pakistan. He said the players welcomed the break caused by the postponement of the Champions Trophy in Pakistan as it had allowed some to recuperate from their injuries.

"Sangakkara who went to Australia for surgery and returned, is preparing to fly again there for further treatment," he said. "I also have had a knee injury, a niggling one and I too need some respite and then there were guys like Maharoof, who I think has recovered by now".

The quadrangular tournament gets underway on October 10, with Sri Lanka taking on Zimbabwe, and concludes on October 13.