Colombo/New Delhi: A major standoff between the powerful BCCI and Sri Lanka Cricket was on Thursday averted with the island nation extending the deadline for its players’ return from the IPL till 18 May, a compromise which put an end to the uncertainty over their availability.
Under pressure from the BCCI to extend the original 5 May deadline, SLC relented after a meeting with country’s sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage and allowed its star players to participate in cash-rich event for 13 more days.
Sources said according to the revised schedule, the players will now participate in the IPL till 18 May and leave from Mumbai for their tour of England after that.
The series against England starts 14 May with a practice match against Middlesex, followed by another warm-up game against England Lions on 19 May.
The first Test of the three Tests is scheduled to begin in Cardiff from 26 May which means that those players staying back for IPL would just have about a week to prepare for the series.
The indications of a compromise came earlier in the day when Aluthgamage said that the players might be allowed to stay beyond the original 5 May deadline.
“I have received several e-mails from the BCCI and I will meet the selection committee and the SLC officials to discuss the matter. We might extend the 5 May deadline,” Aluthgamage said.
“The players have to leave for England on 10 May and we might consider postponing that too. We don’t want to embarrass the BCCI, we have good relations with India and we want to maintain this. We are trying to work out new dates for the players,” he added.
Eleven Sri Lankan players, including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene who are captaining their respective franchises, are currently in action in the cash-rich IPL.
Their early return would have had an adverse impact on their respective teams’ combinations as the franchises were under the impression that the players would be available till 21 May.
There is speculation that Sri Lanka’s climbdown came after the BCCI gave them a deadline to sort out the issue and even threatened to withhold the 10% cut from the players’ fee which the SLC was due to get after the IPL.
The SLC stands to earn approximately Rs 2 crore from the Rs21 crore that the participating players would pocket from the event.