The stalemate between the cricket boards of India and Sri Lanka continued on Wednesday with Sri Lankan authorities sticking to May 5 as the deadline for their cricketers playing in the IPL to return home.
Addressing his first press conference in Colombo as captain, TM Dilshan said he believed playing for Sri Lanka was more important than playing in the IPL. "We have committed to return by May 5," Dilshan said after flying down from India for the press conference.
A 16-member squad for the English tour was also announced on Wednesday.
The players named in the squad but playing in the IPL have been instructed to return; they include captain Dilshan, former captains K Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, spinners Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath and all-rounder Tissara Perera.
Paceman Lasith Malinga was not named in the squad.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, sports minister, M Aluthgamage said both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Lankan players knew that they (the participating players) had to return home by May 10, the day the Lankan team flies to London.
``It (the English series) has been part of the cricket calendar for a long time. Everyone knew about it. Only those chosen in the squad are now expected to return,’’ Aluthgamage said.
The minister gave a number of reasons for the entire team to get together for a few days before the players departed for England.
``We have a new captain. We have a new coach. We might soon have a new vice-captain. They have to be together for a few days. Moreover, the entire team has to fly to England with some days in hand to acclimatise with weather. They (the players) have only been playing T20 and one-day cricket. They have to get used to the red ball,’’ the minister said, adding that there were new players who need to gel as part of the national team.
He added that a number of emails and phone calls have been exchanged between the two boards. ``Even now, we are chatting with the Indian cricket board. Maybe a few days’ adjustment could be done. But I again say, that everyone (BCCI and players) knew about the England tour,’’ he said.