Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has said that the cricket authorities may allow more time for the Sri Lankan cricketers to play for the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The Minister has said that he expects to meet the selection committee, which recalled the IPL players by May 5 to prepare for the England tour, to give players time until May 18 to play for IPL.
“We are favourably looking at giving players more time to play IPL before joining the team for the England tour,” Aluthgamage has told AFP.
The Minister has said that the change in mind is to continue the good relations with India and to avoid any embarrassment to India’s cricket authority BCCI.
“We have excellent relations with the government of India and the Indian cricket board. We don’t want to upset India. We don’t want to embarrass them ,” the AFP quoted the Minister.
The change comes a day after the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board rejected a request made by the Indian cricket control board (BCCI) to allow the Sri Lankan cricketers to play for the IPL longer.
The newly appointed Sri Lanka selectors recalled the players to return to the country by May 5 to prepare for the tour to England which starts from May 14. The players are due to depart for England on May 10.
The BCCI has requested the Sri Lankan officials to let the players play at least till May 15.
Sri Lanka’s cricketers are to play three Tests, five ODIs and one Twenty20 against England. Sri Lanka’s first Test with England starts on May 26.
Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara, who is captaining the Deccan Chargers in the IPL has said that the players will abide by the Sri Lanka Cricket Board’s decision.
In addition to Sangakkara, 10 other Sri Lankan players are taking part in the lucrative IPL season. His former deputy Mahela Jayawardena is leading the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the IPL while Lasith Malinga has been a key player for the Mumbai Indians and Tillakaratne Dilshan is an explosive opener for Royal Challengers.
However, Malinga is not included in the Test squad for England.