IPL's presence a matter of concern for PCB and Lanka

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Lahore, Mar 21 (UNI) Although Sri Lanka has agreed to play a five-match one-day series against Pakistan, the players' willingness to play in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) still remains a matter of concern for both the boards.

Australia declined to tour Pakistan this month following security concerns but yesterday Sri Lanka Cricket agreed to play a one-day series which is likely to begin on April 23 and will clash with the IPL's Twenty20 tournament.

''We would have to work things out in a way that top players from both sides are a part of the series,'' Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) chief operating officer Shafqat Naghmi was quoted as saying by 'The News'.

''The series is just a few weeks away and we will have to sit down and sort it out,'' he added.

He said the issue will be thoroughly discussed in the executive board meeting which will take place here.

''The Executive Board is to devise our IPL policy and hopefully we would find a way to keep our players available for the series (against Sri Lanka),'' he said.

IPL has signed many big names from both Sri Lanka and Pakistan which includes Shoaib Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq, pacers Shoaib Akhtar, Mahela Jayawerdene, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, all-rounders Shahid Afridi, Younis Khan, Kumara Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasurya. Pakistan have lined up one-day matches against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to compensate for the home series against Australia which was postponed by the world champions and could have been profitable series for PCB.

Bangladesh will not be able to attract huge crowd but PCB will have to make sure that the big names from Sri Lanka turn up for the series so as to attract crowd in good numbers.

However, PCB is still hopeful that it will sort out the issue with the Sri Lankan board so that all the major stars from both the sides are available for the tournament.

''But both we and Sri Lanka will have to find ways ensure the participation of our top stars in the series,'' Naghmi said.

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