India's cricketers have been denied permission to take part in an inaugural Twenty20 league in Sri Lanka starting in July, a board official said on Monday.
As many as 12 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 July 19 to August 4.
"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," the official said, 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 that 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 comes after media reports that the SLPL was being organised by the private Singapore-based Somerset Entertainment Ventures which the reports say has links with Lalit Modi, the sacked former boss of the Indian Premier League.
"We have indications that Modi is behind the Lankan league. A lot of his men who worked in IPL are now involved in managing this league through Somerset Ventures," a leading daily said, quoting a BCCI official.
Modi, who now lives in London, faces criminal charges including false accounting, and accusations by the BCCI that more than $106 million dollars were misappropriated during his three-year tenure as IPL chairman.
But Modi was quick to rubbish the speculation.
"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."
Relations between the Indian and Sri Lankan boards took a hit early 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.