Pak tour still under threat as IPL attracts Sril Lankan stars

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Colombo, Mar 24 (UNI) The lure of playing in the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) could well jeopardise Sri Lanka's proposed tour of Pakistan scheduled to begin next month.

According to 'The Nation', some of the key Sri Lankan players which include captain Mahela Jayawerdene, off-spinner Muttiah Murlitharan and batsman Kumara Sangakkara have raised their voices to play in the 44-day event in India which will start on April 18.

''It is reliably learnt that there was a meeting amongst the Lankan cricketers on Friday at Guyana on the next course of action they were to take if they don't get the required permission to play in the IPL,'' the daily reported.

Earlier, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had offered to play in Pakistan after Australia pulled out of their scheduled tour in the country following security concerns.

But the dates of the series - from April 23 to May 5 - will clash with the IPL's inaugural Twenty20 tournament which will include some of the world's best cricketers.

The daily further said, ''the SLC would be helpless to prevent the players from playing in the league as they are currently bound only by the West Indies tour contract.'' The SLC is already under financial crises and if the Pakistan tour is cancelled it will be a monetary loss not only to PCB but also to Sri Lanka.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has said that it was willing to offer SLC 800,000 dollars for next month's ODI series.

However, SLC chief Arjuna Ranatunga is hopeful that the Indian tour in July-August will help the board pull out of its financial difficulties.

But a possible Indian decision to cancel the tour would cost Sri Lanka more than a million dollars as the clash of dates has apparently upset the BCCI with a top official reported to have expressed his displeasure over the Pakistan tour to his counterpart in Sri Lanka.

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