Ranatunga asks Lankan players to skip IPL for England tour

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Colombo, Jul 27 (UNI) Sri Lanka Cricket board chief and former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga has asked the Lankans to skip the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2009, which coincides with their England tour.

In a letter to top players of the Sri Lanka team, Ranatunga said, ''I take it that the (Sri Lankan) players would be prepared to heed the call to perform for their country in preference to the IPL. At the most, the players concerned would miss a part of the IPL series on account of the tour of England.'' However, the former captain had earlier said the players could not be forced to tour England at the expense of the IPL.

Echoing a different note, Ranatunga wrote,''by permitting our national players to participate in the IPL, it is private individuals who earn a percentage of the players' earning while Sri Lanka cricket gets no financial benefits whatsoever.'' Commenting on the unfavourable response of the players to the SLC's commitments of the national squad, Ranatunga said they should agree to tour England for the series comprising two Tests and 3 ODIs in April/May next year.

Ranatunga further said the letter by Mendis written on October 1, last year had,''specifically stated that Sri Lanka Cricket had no objection to the cricketers participating in the inaugural IPL Twenty20 in 2008 subject to they being available for any commitments with Sri lanka Cricket at any given time.'' UNI XC PY AB GC1637

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