SL Sports Minister urges Indian counterpart to resolve SLPL

Colombo: Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Somachandra de Silva on Wednesday revealed that the island nation`s Sports Minister has written to his Indian counterpart, urging him to resolve the deadlock over Indian players` participation in its Twenty20 league.

The officials of both India and Sri Lanka cricket boards met on the sidelines of the ongoing ICC conference in Hong Kong to hold discussions on releasing the Indian cricketers for Sri Lanka Premier League again but they could not reach an agreement.

"We had a discussion with the BCCI asking them to release the players," de Silva told a cricket website.

"Earlier they had sent a letter signed by Mr Srinivasan, the secretary of the BCCI, saying they are going to release the players for our tournament. So now that they have changed their minds and for that we are very sad and disappointed.”

"Even our sports minister has written to their (India`s) sports minister to try and intervene and solve this issue," he added.

De Silva also disclosed that the BCCI said it could not allow the players to participate in the SLPL because of the involvement of Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV), a private company which won the marketing rights for the T20 league, but that explanation was confusing as IMG, a private company, is involved in the IPL.

"What they are saying is there is another party involved. There is no logic. What about the IPL tournament? There is another party involved - IMG. What is IMG doing with IPL?," he said.

Stating that he was amused by the BCCI`s stand because the two boards share a good relationship, de Silva said, "SLC were just asking for second-string Indian players while Sri Lanka had sent its national team to England without some of the top players because of the IPL.

"Even our captain didn`t go on tour with the team. The captain went after that. So I sincerely hope the Indian cricket board will think about it again and release these players. This is not a long tournament. It is only 16 days. Not like the IPL, which is 51 days. I can`t see the reason," De Silva said.

The BCCI has refused No Objection Certificates to 12 Indian players -- Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Dinesh Karthik, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Manish Pandey and Paul Valthaty -- who were reportedly signed up by the SLPL.

Although de Silva said the crisis has not affected the relationship between the two countries but admitted that it disappointed him greatly.

"As the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket, I am sad about the whole situation. Because our relationship is so good and so I don`t know why they have refused their second-string players. I sincerely hope that Shashank (Manohar) will go back and speak to their committee and reverse the decision," he said.

The Sri Lankan Sports Minister had earlier said that the BCCI told him that it did not want to send Indian players for SLPL because of the involvement of the former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi with it.

Modi, however, had denied any links with the SLPL, something which SEV reiterated through a statement yesterday.


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