The BCCI may have banned the ICL, but the league on Friday received unexpected support when the Sri Lankan cricket board decided to allow players, who had been banned after signing contracts with the ICL, to play a domestic tournament in Sri Lanka.
Speaking to HT from Colombo, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) media manager Shane Fernando, said: “We had got a request from our cricketers playing there (in the ICL) to allow them to play in the Premier League — a domestic tournament in Sri Lanka — and it was on the basis of this, that the Board took the decision.”
However, he added that the permission was only for one domestic tournament. “The players wanted us to allow them to represent their respective clubs, the interim governing committee of the Board therefore decided to rule in their favour.”
The Premier League, which runs through three months starting from the first week of October, includes both three-day matches as well as 60-over games. The previous interim committee, headed by Jayantha Dharmadasa, had imposed a ban on all cricketers playing in the ICL. But the current nine-member committee headed by chairman Arjuna Ranatunga and CEO Duleep Mendis seems to be taking a lenient view on the matter.
With this development the five Sri Lankan cricketers playing in the ICL — Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold, Upul Chandana, Avishka Gunawardena and Saman Jayantha — will be able to play cricket beyond the League’s fold.
Welcoming the decision, ICL executive board member Kiran More said: “Cricketers have taken this decision. A cricketer knows a cricketer’s value. It’s a very welcome decision not only for us but for all cricketers of the world.”
“This is quite good, especially considering that our boys here are not even allowed to practice in BCCI-owned grounds. I think the word ‘ban’ is very harsh and should not be used,” he added. He also hoped that with this, the Bangladesh Cricket Board, which has imposed a 10-year ban on players, reconsiders its stance.
He even requested the BCCI to follow suit. “We hope that the BCCI comes out with a positive decision. After all our players have given their hearts out, sweated it out at different levels for the BCCI.”
Board secretary Niranjan Shah said, “It definitely is bad news for us, but we will take up the matter with the ICC soon.”
However, ICC spokesperson James Fitzgerald stayed away from commenting on the matter. He just said, “It’s for the respective boards to decide.”
IPL CEO Sundar Raman said, “It really has got nothing to do with the IPL or for that matter the BCCI. It’s for the respective board to decide.”