Indian Premier League haunts Pakistan, Sri Lanka

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Karachi, Mar 21 : Sri Lanka and Pakistan are facing a dilemma as they aren't sure whether the two countries' top stars will be willing to jeopardise their lucrative contracts with the Indian Premier League (IPL) to play in the ODI series scheduled in April.

According to a top Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, the IPL issue may pose a big trouble for both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

"We would have to work things out in a way that top players from both sides are a part of the series," Shafqat Naghmi, PCB Chief Operating Officer, told The News.

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

Naghmi said that the PCB would deal with the issue at its Executive Board meeting scheduled for Saturday.

"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.

Most of the country's leading players have been signed up by the IPL that is bankrolled by the Indian cricket board (BCCI).

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik, vice-captain Misbah-ul-Haq, pacers Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif, Umar Gul, all-rounder Shahid Afridi and senior batsman Younis Khan are among the players lined up to feature in the IPL that is scheduled to run for 44 days.

The Sri Lankans have bagged even bigger contracts with veteran star Sanath Jayasuriya getting 975,000 dollars and Kumar Sangakkara (700,000 dollars).

Naghmi said that with the amount of money involved with the IPL, it would take some effort to keep the players available for "national duty."

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

Sri Lanka will play a five-match one-day international (ODI) series in Pakistan following the postponement of Australia's tour over security fears.

ANI

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