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Last updated: 12 September, 2008 - Published 12:37 GMT
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Cricketers object England tour
Sri Lanka cricket team
Senior players 'might opt out' if the England tour goes ahead
Sri Lanka cricket players continue their objections to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) agreeing to tour England during April-May 2009 as it clashes with a lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

Many senior Sri Lanka players, including Captain Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Sanath Jayasuriya have already signed contracts with Indian Premium League (IPL).

The Sri Lanka Cricketers Association (SLCA) has expressed displeasure over the failure by SLC to consult the players regarding the proposed England tour.

Player 'mutiny'

SLCA Secretary, Graeme Labrooy, told BBC Sinhala Service that senior players might opt out of the England tour if no compromise is made, Labrooy told the BBC.

“Yes there is a possibility but we are still hopeful of reaching a compromise” he said.

Arjuna Ranatunga
SLC says Sri Lanka has an obligation to tour England

Players have the option to opt out weeks before the IPL as their contracts are up for renewal in March 2009, he added.

If that happens, that will be the most serious cricketer’s mutiny in Sri Lanka since the infamous South African tour led by then Test captain Bandula Warnapura during Apartheid era.

Sri Lanka accepted the invitation to tour England after the England and Wales Cricket Board severed sporting relations with Zimbabwe and cancelled their tour next summer.

The players have informed sports minister, Gamini Lokuge, of their objections but the SLC insist on touring England instead of allowing the senior players to honour their IPL contracts.

Minister's help sought

Sri Lanka Cricket interim committee chief Arjuna Ranatunga has told media: "We have a memorandum of understanding with England and we must honor that."

Graeme Labrooy agreed that the players have not sought SLC approval before signing the IPL contracts for 2009 series.

Captain Mahela Jayawardene
Many senior players have already signed lucrative IPL contracts

The then interim committee chaired by Jayantha Dharmadasa has approved them playing for the 2008 IPL series.

“We requested the minister to inform the players on who will be selected for Test series and ODI series before November,” he said.

Speaking with BBC Sinhala Service just after the IPL series, Kumar Sangakkara said the new tournament provided greater opportunities for Sri Lankan cricketers.

“Obviously money was an important factor and at the same time it was an opportunity for our players, senior and junior players alike, to gain vital experience playing against the leading cricketers in the world,” he said.

However, SLC chairman Ranatunga has been a strong critic of the newly introduced shorter form of the game.

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