Disciplinary action will be taken against Sri Lankan cricketers who do not return from the IPL T20 games in India before practice matches begin for the country’s English tour in May.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has issued a stern warning to the players including former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena to back home by May 5.
The sports minister’s recent statements and his demand that Lankan players return home during IPL could put Sri Lanka Cricket on a clash course with the powerful Board for Cricket Control in India (BCCI).
"The latest development is almost certain to create a tense situation in Sri Lanka's ties with the world cricket's financial power house, the BCCI which more or less dictates terms to the ICC and world cricket as a whole," the popular English newspaper, Daily Mirror said on Wednesday.
"On a recommendation made by the national selection committee I have instructed the secretary of the board to inform the players to return by at least the 5th of May to prepare for the tour," Aluthgamage had told PTI.
"When contracted players of Sri Lanka Cricket represent other tournaments, they should make sure that their priority lies with the national team and this will be strictly adhered to in the future," Aluthgamage had added.
Some of the other players who would have to return include Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, and Tilakaratne Dilshan.
Last week, Aluthgamage had complained about BCCI shabbily treating Lankan ministers who had flown to Mumbai to watch India-Lanka World Cup cricket final on April 2. He had said not only did the ministers didn’t get enough tickets, many of them had to stand for hours in queue to buy tickets.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was present during the final and sat through the match along with President Pratibha Patil. During an interaction with Indian reporters after returning, Rajapaksa had said both the Indian President and the organisers were perfect hosts.