Sri Lanka's cricket tour of England will go ahead as planned next year despite the dates clashing with a lucrative Indian Twenty20 tournament, officials said on Thursday.
"We have a memorandum of understanding with the England and Wales Cricket Board for the tour and we must honour that," Sri Lanka Cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga told AFP.
The tour of two Tests and three one-dayers in May next year was arranged after a visit by Zimbabwean cricketers to England was cancelled on the advice of the British government.
The hastily arranged tour is opposed by top Sri Lankan players like captain Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara, who want to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in April-May.
The players argued their IPL contracts were signed before the England tour was finalised, and said they stood to lose thousands of dollars if they did not take part in the Indian Twenty20 tournament.
However, Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan World Cup-winning captain, said his body would honour the commitment made to England in July.
Sources in the Sri Lankan sports ministry said the government wanted a compromise by which players can take part in the IPL and also play in the England series.