Cricinfo has learnt that the ECB and Sri Lanka Cricket have agreed to postpone Sri Lanka's tour of England in 2009.

Although the official stance of the England board is that the series is going ahead, it is reported that Giles Clarke, the ECB chairman, informed the ICC recently that agreement had been reached with SLC to reschedule the tour.

The likelihood of Sri Lanka touring has been in doubt ever since SLC gave its players the go-ahead to take part in the IPL's second season, even though the dates clash. A number of Sri Lanka's leading players are contracted with the league, and SLC are negotiating a US$70 million bailout deal with the BCCI - one conditional upon SLC pledging full support for the IPL and the Champions League.

The ICC's top officials - president David Morgan and chief executive Haroon Lorgat - have been keen to promote the primacy of Test cricket, but the scheduling is a matter between the England board and SLC and so not of direct concern to the ICC.

Rather than hosting a second-string Sri Lankan team - which would almost certainly damage ticket sales - it now seems England will instead host West Indies as a more marketable alternative. They too have players in the IPL, but it is expected they will be part of the touring party.

The West Indies players do have commitments with their sponsors, Digicel, which could in the future cause problems should they want to be released for the IPL in preference to major international events