Sri Lanka news July 8, 2014

New schedule relief for Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka Cricket's strained finances are headed for significant relief, thanks to the stream of incoming tours from cricket's Big Three prescribed by the latest draft of the FTP, which has been seen by ESPNcricinfo.

The schedule has set down two full tours apiece from India, Australia and South Africa between 2016 and 2022, all of which include three Tests and at least three ODIs. If adhered to, this schedule is a meaningful victory for SLC, which was in danger of being cold-shouldered by the Big Three, following SLC's resistance to the ICC shakeup in January and February.

The FTP also sets down a four-Test series against South Africa in 2020, which would be Sri Lanka's first ever series to exceed three Tests. One of the most puzzling quirks of the schedule, however, is that Sri Lanka will visit South Africa four times between 2016 and early 2021, yet South Africa are set to play only one full tour in Sri Lanka during that time. "There are reasons for that, but we can't reveal them at the moment," SLC's cricket operations manager said of the imbalance. Sri Lanka's away schedule is, at this stage, significantly busier than their home agenda.

In addition to two reciprocal away tours to each of the Big Three nations, Sri Lanka will also have two home-and-away arrangements with Pakistan and Zimbabwe, between now and 2023. There one away tour to the West Indies and two at home, three away tours to New Zealand and one at home.* There is also one away tour only, with Bangladesh.

SLC's debt with the Bank of Ceylon currently stands at around USD $6.5 million, secretary Nuski Mohamed said, with the board having tightened their finances since their 2011 blowout. "Sometime next year we plan to completely settle that amount, and we have the ability to do that," Mohamed said, having taken stock of the new FTP. However, in addition to the debt to the bank, there is also a stadium debt of close to 3 billion rupees (approx. USD $23 million), which the board hopes various arms of the Sri Lanka government will absorb. The government, however, has so far made no indication it is willing to do so.

SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, meanwhile, said the new FTP cycle is expected to more than double SLC's income from the last eight years. "The present formula of the FTP benefits us. I think the SLC, or to be more precise, Sri Lanka as a whole has gained," Ranatunga told Sunday Times. "During the last Future Tours Programme, Sri Lanka cricket's income stood at about US$ 45 million. But our anticipated income for this FTP stands at around US$ 95-100 million. This means our cricket will be in a stronger position."

Among the other highlights of the latest version of the FTP is a probable Boxing Day Test in Australia in 2022, with the last one having been played at the end of 2012. There is one tour to Australia that precedes that series, but India will have the showpiece Australia tour in 2018/19, with Sri Lanka set to play only two Tests, following India's visit. Sri Lanka are also set to visit England for a three-Test series in early summer 2016, with a home series against Australia to follow directly after.

That India's full tour of Sri Lanka in 2017 will go ahead as planned is also a relief for SLC, which has made that tour a centrepiece of their broadcast contract with Ten Sports. Sri Lanka are set to visit India for three Tests in mid-2015 and again in 2018.

Sri Lanka may also spend successive southern-hemisphere summers in New Zealand, with another two-Test series scheduled for 2015/16, to follow the one confirmed for the end of this year.

Member nations have been told to sign their bilateral agreements by the next ICC Board meeting in October in order to firmly establish that FTP is both "binding and bankable".

*There is only one inbound tour from New Zealand in the proposed FTP

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 14, 2014, 7:27 GMT

    check the FTP of big 3,.....

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    Oh well, number of Test Series in the line for Sri Lanka! Great news for the Cricket Lovers and also for those who likes Test Cricket! Not sure that Mathews could captained the team till then but the Schedule is looks to good for us where we can build a Great Test Nation! Never forget that the Series win in England!

  • Rosh on July 10, 2014, 14:25 GMT

    I think this is a great plus for Sri Lanka cricket.And it's time to open the doors for the players who play GOOD CRICKET.Players who can compete with any opposition.Players who think they own SL cricket should be dropped.It's time to identify players who play for country not for money...

  • udendra on July 10, 2014, 5:06 GMT

    @Sri Clix Lanka: I won't be surprised if that happened.

  • Rakitha on July 10, 2014, 0:55 GMT

    I expect Sanga will keep his form and will play for SL at least until 2020. Age doesn't really matter as long as a player keeps his fitness. A player can be a burden to the team if he blocks youngsters' opportunities without performing. As long as a player performs well his age is not a matter at all. It's great to see SL is getting more test matches. But they are bit unlucky that they are getting all these tours after retirements of their great players.

  • Charindra on July 9, 2014, 14:09 GMT

    I guess this is ok... Just wish we had one a test tour to Aus a bit earlier. For all our recent complaints about England, they have been quite kind to us this century with full tours in '02, '06, '11 and '14 and now '16 and '20. They've also visited SL in '04, 07 and '12 and now '18 and '22. Not bad at all. And as always BCCI has been very accomodating of its little brother.

  • Chirath on July 9, 2014, 8:05 GMT

    There are quite a few positives for Sri Lanka in this next cycle of tours. 1) Three tours to South Africa between 2016 - 2019. Our first ever 4 Test Series will be against them, so thats just brilliant. 2) Two tours to India (2015 & 2018). 3) No home Test Series against Bangladesh and just one away tour to the country (No disrespect to our fellow Asian brothers, but amongst all the top 8 Test nations, Sri Lanka has played the most with Bangladesh. Its time someone else took that mantle). The negatives...1) Just two tours to Australia with the most recent one taking place 5 years from now!! Would love to Sri Lanka play more against Australia. Our Test record against them is terrible, but I would hope that all the Series will be a minimum of 3 Tests. 2) Just two tours to the West Indies. Considering that we only got to play a Test Match against them in 1993 (a decade after being granted Test Status), I would hope West Indies Cricket Board would arrange more fixtures.

  • shane on July 9, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Looking at the way our youngsters play we shouldn't ask ICC to change test matches in to odi specially after 2016 cos anyway this team is only capable of facing 20 - 30 overs max. Who knows like in 96 ( pioneers of Morden odis) we might be the pioneers to finishing up a test match within one day. With players like thirimanne it's more than a possibility.

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2014, 6:51 GMT

    unfortunately we will not have Mahela,Sanga,Dilshan, Herath, Malinga,Kulasekera in the future and players like Kusal,Kaushal,Dimuth,Thirimanne,Chandimal need to step up fast and we need some good pacies and spinners to meet future challenges

  • Dummy4 on July 9, 2014, 5:00 GMT

    : : Today 2019 :: NEWS : SL asking to change SA four test sires to 5 ODI 2 T20 + 2 Test

  • No featured comments at the moment.