In a desperate move to save the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) from being a financial failure, the island nation's sports minister has ordered top two Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials to meet their Indian counterparts.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) decided not to allow any Indian cricketer to participate in the seven-team Twenty20 league, the SLPL is likely to lose most of its revenue from the Indian market. The BCCI refused to release the players as, it alleged, the contracts were being offered to the players by a private entity, not by the SLC.
The SLC chairman DS de Silva and secretary Nishantha Ranatunga will arrive in Mumbai on Wednesday to convince the BCCI that the private entity in question — Somerset Entertainment Ventures — is nothing but a "marketing arm" of the Lankan board.
The Lankan ‘rescue mission’, however, received a big jolt when the BCCI president Shashank Manohar excused himself from the proposed meeting, citing professional commitments. BCCI secretary N Srinivasan is, however, set to meet them on either Wednesday or Thursday in Chennai.
Despite the SLC's efforts, it looks unlikely that the BCCI will change its stand. And that's not just because of the alleged role of the former IPL chairman Lalit Modi in the Lankan League. There's a general feeling within the board that a precedent should be set for other tournaments and the players.
“The contracts that some of the players signed during the IPL had one line at the end of it saying, ‘subject to BCCI approval’,” an IPL insider said. “This is not a professional conduct on the part of the SLPL, and it's foolish of players to sign without consulting the board. Let’s hope the players learn from this.”