Sri Lanka news June 20, 2011

'Private' SL tournament is fine for Champions League

The BCCI's refusal to release Indian players for the Sri Lanka Premier League on grounds that the tournament is organised by a "private party" has been put into sharp focus with the winner of the SLPL being included in the 2011 Champions League Twenty20 tournament - an event that is jointly owned by the boards of India, Australia and South Africa.

A press release issued by the CLT20 on Monday said a six-team qualifying tournament this year would feature a team from Sri Lanka and teams from India, West Indies, New Zealand and England. Sri Lanka Cricket's secretary Nishantha Ranatunga confirmed to ESPNcricinfo that as far as SLC is concerned, it is the winner of the SLPL that will play in the CLT20. Sundar Raman, a member of the techincal committee of the CLT20, did not respond to an email from ESPNcricinfo seeking comment.

The SLPL is also the only T20 domestic tournament in Sri Lanka, having replaced the previous tournament, so if a Sri Lanka team is to participate in the CLT20 at all, it must come from the SLPL.

The BCCI had initially stated it had no problems with the proposed league and that Indian players were free to take part, as long as there was no conflict with India's international or domestic schedule. However, on Saturday came the board's announcement denying permission to the 12 Indian cricketers who'd sought No-Objection Certificates to participate in the SLPL on the grounds that it is Somerset who would be handling the contracts for international players, and that could lead to complications for the players should disputes arise.

SLC responded by rejecting the BCCI's claim that the SLPL is a private-party organised tournament, saying that the SLPL is owned and approved by SLC - and so, automatically, by the ICC - and that Singapore-based Somerset Ventures only owns the commercial rights to the tournament.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo