(Reuters) - Sri Lanka will go ahead with its planned T20 league tournament in the same format as scheduled, currently with all foreign players except Indians, but the country is still hopeful of India considering it’s request, its Sports Minister said on Monday.
“I have written to Indian Sports Minister, requesting to consider to send Indian players,” Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Reuters.
“But we are going to have the tournament. Other than Indians all other scheduled players are coming. The tournament will be conducted in a same profile as we had planned.”
West Indian Kieron Pollard, Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and New Zealand’s Daniel Vettori are among the foreign recruits for the Twenty20 tournament modelled on the successful Indian Premier League (IPL).
Aluthgamage on Friday said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had denied permission to its players because it suspects the involvement of Lalit Modi, the former Indian Premier League commissioner who was sacked on financial irregularity charges, in the IPL-style tournament. A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) delegation was expected to travel to India last week to try and convince BCCI officials to allow Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin and nine other Indian players to participate in the tournament scheduled from July 19-Aug. 4.
“We didn’t go,” SLC media manager Brian Thomas told Reuters when asked if Sri Lankan officials went to India to discuss the issue with the Indian board. “We are waiting for further instructions from Singapore and from our Board. Thing is most of the board members are busy with the ICC meeting. I think they will take a firm decision after that.”
Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures owns the commercial rights to the tournament. Sports commentators and analysts in Sri Lanka have said the Indian board’s attitude may be also due to Sri Lanka, during the recently concluded IPL, recalling its players for England tour ahead of the agreed date, which was later solved after high-level official discussions.