India, Sri Lanka clash over new T20 league

India, Sri Lanka clash over new T20 league

New Delhi: The cricket boards of India and Sri Lanka clashed Monday over a new Twenty20 competition set to be held in Colombo next month after Indian players were barred from taking part.

Up to a dozen Indian players including fast bowlers Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel had sought permission to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) to be staged in Colombo from 19 July to 4 August.

“We have decided that no Indian cricketer will be given permission to take part in the league as it is being organised by a private party based in Singapore," a senior Indian cricket official told the agency, asking not to be named.

“The board’s policy does not allow players to take part in private tournaments," he added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier said it had no problems with the league and that Indian players were free to take part as long as there was no conflict with international or domestic schedules.

The BCCI’s U-turn came after media reports that the SLPL was being organised by Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures, which allegedly has links with Lalit Modi, the sacked former boss of the Indian Premier League.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said that the tournament would go ahead anyway, adding that the Indian authorites were wrong to believe a private company was organising the competition.

“We are trying to convince BCCI to change their decision," SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga told reporters in Colombo on Monday.

Ranatunga insisted that the tournament was owned by SLC and that only the marketing rights had been sold to Somerset Entertainment Ventures.

“We have a lot of control over the tournament and the team composition. It’s a slightly different model from the IPL," Ranatunga said.

Former IPL supremo Modi, who now lives in London, denied he was linked to Somerset and attacked his former colleagues at the BCCI.

“It seems best way to scuttle any plans is to say Lalit Modi is behind it," Modi said on Twitter. “Good to know that just mentioning my name can send a shiver down their spines."

Modi faces criminal charges including false accounting, and accusations by the BCCI that more than $106 million was misappropriated during his three-year tenure as IPL chairman.

Relations between the Indian and Sri Lankan boards were dented earlier this year after Sri Lanka asked their players to return during the IPL and prepare for the tour of England.

The Sri Lankan board later relented, saying it did not want to spoil “excellent" relations with the government of India and the Indian cricket board.