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Postpone England tour: SL cricketers

Sri Lanka's cricketers want next year's hastily arranged Test tour of England to be rescheduled as the dates clash with the lucrative Indian Premier League.

cricket Updated: Jul 11, 2008 00:56 IST

Sri Lanka's cricketers want next year's hastily arranged Test tour of England to be rescheduled as the dates clash with the lucrative Indian Premier League, sources close to the team said on Thursday.

"The players met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and urged him to get the tour postponed or played after the IPL," one source said.

"The President was very sympathetic towards the players and agreed to look into their request."

The tour, arranged earlier this month after England suspended bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe, includes two Tests, three one-dayers and four warm-up games and runs from April 21 to May 30.

The IPL, which features at least 13 top Sri Lankans including captain Mahela Jayawardene and star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, is due to be played between April 10 and May 25.

One top player, who declined to be named, said the cricketers had handed the President a letter when they met him on Wednesday to celebrate their victory in the recent Asia Cup in Pakistan.

"We wrote a letter, signed by all of us, appealing to the President to either call off the tour or push back the dates," he said.

Rajapakse's spokesman said the President had instructed Sri Lanka's sports minister Gamini Lokuge to raise this issue when Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee meets later on Thursday.

"The President promised to look into the players' grievances and instructed the sports minister to ask the interim committee to draw up alternative proposals," spokesman Lucien Rajakarunanayake said.

The tour was formalised between the England and Wales Cricket Board and Sri Lanka Cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai earlier this month.