Eng tour more important than IPL: SLC

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricgen3.jpg' class='caption'> SLC rubbished IPL chief Lalit Modi's claim that Arjuna Ranatunga finalised the now-cancelled tour of England keeping players' IPL contracts in mind.

Updated: November 03, 2008 08:51 IST
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Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday rubbished Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi's claim that its chairman Arjuna Ranatunga was aware of the Lankan players' contract with the IPL's next edition when he finalised the now-cancelled tour of England scheduled for the same time period.

"The Sri Lankan Cricket had got a letter in September last year from team captain Mahela Jayawardene seeking no objection for playing for inaugural Twenty20 in 2008 and there was no mention of playing for three years," SLC sources said.

The sources said in reply, the Chief Executive of SLC Duleep Mendis in a letter dated Oct 1, 2007 said the SLC had no objection in allowing Jayawardene to play the inaugural IPL subject to being available to any commitments with Sri Lanka Cricket at any given time.

Subsequently, a few months ago, SLC Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga wrote to Sri Lankan players asking them to skip matches of IPL 2009 that coincide with the now-cancelled tour of England.

The players contended they had already committed to play for the Indian tournament.

Ranatunga blamed the IPL for a USD three million for SLC due to the cancellation of the English tour as the ECB was not prepared for matches against a second string Sri Lankan cricket team in the wake of commitments of the senior players towards the IPL.

Ranatunga had, in his letter, to the top players asked them to heed to the SLC's call by playing for the Sri Lankan team in their matches in England in April and May, 2009.

"I take it that the (Sri Lankan) players would be prepared to heed the call to perform for their country in preference to the IPL. At the most, the players concerned would miss a part of the IPL series on account of the tour of England," Ranatunga had said in his letter.

Besides Jayawardene, the other players contracted to IPL included Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Tillekeratene Dilshan, Lasith Malinga, Ferveez Mahroof, Chamara Silva, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis and Chamara Kapugedera.

BCCI vice-president and IPL chief Lalit Modi on Saturday had hit back at Ranatunga for his "continuous blasting" of the IPL and said his outbursts were uncalled for.

Modi, however, insisted that the Indian board has the "best of relationships" with the SLC and players.

"We are looking for answers. We hope to find a solution which is beneficial to both boards at the earliest. The officials were also quite perturbed that the situation had escalated to where it is today and were also looking for answers," Modi told reporters in New Delhi.

Modi alleged that SLC knew the IPL schedule before fixing dates with ECB.

"We prepared our (IPL) schedule as per the FTP, which is prepared years in advance, and we signed the players for a certain term based on that.

Modi said SLC officials and players were in the knowledge of the schedule.

"The ECB invited Sri Lanka without knowing that the players had already received a NOC to play for the IPL from the Sri Lankan (Cricket) board," Modi said.

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