The Indian cricket team will play five one-day internationals and a Twenty20 match in Sri Lanka,the dates of which would be announced soon,BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said in Colombo on Tuesday.
The tour would take place between the end of January and early February,Srinivasan said in a press conference. “We have agreed to visit Sri Lanka and play five One Day Internationals and one Twenty20 match before we go to New Zealand for our pre-fixed tour. The exact dates will be finalised soon and will be released jointly,” he said.
Srinivasan also thanked Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge for assuring that Sri Lankan cricketers would be available for the second edition of the Indian Premier League scheduled in April.
“We are grateful to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and to the minister for having said that they will release the Sri Lankan players for the IPL and that we will have a clear understanding on this which will be inked on the day that we play our Twenty20 match here,” Srinivasan said.
He also thanked the SLC for supporting the BCCI’s stand on the rebel Indian Cricket League. “We are also thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for their very firm expression of support to the BCCI stand with regards to the ICL. Now we look forward to an interesting ODI series and a Twenty20 game in Sri Lanka when our team comes here,” the BCCI official said.
Hailing the India-Sri Lanka cricket ties,Srinivasan said,”India and Sri Lanka have had a very long and very close relationship in cricket among other things and I am present here today to assure Sri Lankan cricket that the BCCI will continue to cherish the relationship that we have and support Sri Lankan Cricket in furtherance to that and we will always stand with you,” he added.
The cancellation of India’s tour of Pakistan following the terror attacks in Mumbai provided a gap in the calendar and Sri Lanka too split their hastily-arranged Pakistan tour to accommodate this series.
Srinivasan,meanwhile,dismissed notions that BCCI put pressure on its Sri Lankan counterpart to get rid of Arjuna Ranatunga from the helm of the SLC interim committee.
“No there was no precondition. We have no right to interfere or make any suggestions,comments or request on the internal matter of SLC. The Sri Lankan Cricket is as sovereign as the BCCI,” Srinivasan said.
Ranatunga was against allowing Sri Lankan players take part in the IPL this year and was in fact negotiating a tour of England which would have coincided with the BCCI-backed Twenty20 event.
Srinivasan also denied pressurising SLC to let its players take part in the IPL. “All Sri Lankan players were made available during the first season of IPL. There was no hesitation at all and we actually thanked Sri Lanka Cricket for their gesture at that time and even this year none of the players have indicated that there was any pressure or anything. So I think that impression is wrong. There was no linen that was dirty,” he said.
Asked how much of the loss that BCCI suffered of late would be offset by this series,Srinivasan said,”We have already indicated after our last Working Committee meeting that there is a loss of revenue to the BCCI of Rs 122 crore. Still the BCCI will have a surplus of income over expenditure. We are not coming here with the intention of making any money. The domestic rights,when we come here,belong to Sri Lanka Cricket and not to us. So we are coming here to honour the request of our friend and neighbour,” he said.
Asked if BCCI was miffed with SLC for touring Pakistan following the Mumbai terror attacks,Srinivasan said,”None at all. As I said,BCCI is sovereign and SLC is sovereign. It is up to Sri Lanka cricket to tour as they will. Actually we will never poke our nose and say anything. It is for them (SLC),the government is there,the minister is there. I cannot say anything at all because we have no locus standi in this matter,” he said.
Lokuge said it was entirely Sri Lanka’s own decision. “That is the Sri Lankan decision to tour Pakistan,” the minister said.
Srinivasan said the final itinerary would be out in a couple of days. “There are two parts to Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan as I have seen in the itinerary. You play the (three) one-dayers first and then go back again to play (two) Test matches in Pakistan. Which is why we said that we will see how we fit the 5 ODIs and the Twenty20 in the gap; the detailed itinerary will come out tomorrow or day after,” he said.
Lokuge said that Tuesdays meeting further strengthened the ties between the cricket boards. “In future also,we will be going with India. On ICL we are with the Indian stand. We agree with India,Indian cricket and we have already discussed the other things in the ICC. Today we had a very fruitful negotiations and we are very happy,” Lokuge said.
SLC CEO Duleep Mendis echoed the view and said,”India has always come to SLC assistance. Whenever the need arises India has always come forward to help us. There have always been good relations between Sri lanka (SLC) and India.” The BCCI official earlier met Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa in the morning in connection with the series.