The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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ICC set to put Sri Lanka on notice

Calcutta: From India, much of the Player Terms action has shifted across the Palk Strait.

Indeed, the International Cricket Council’s (ICC’s) business arm, IDI Limited, is preparing to serve a lawyer’s notice on the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL).

That could come about as early as Tuesday afternoon.

“Till now (late Monday), the Lankans haven’t forwarded the Terms and, so, legal provisions will have to be invoked,” a well-placed source, based in London, told The Telegraph.

According to him, the BCCSL has “no choice” but to immediately “follow-up” on its 15-strong squad for the World Cup, beginning February 8.

Though the Sanath Jayasuriya-led squad was announced well before the December 31 cut-off. Not one player has signed the Terms.

“The Lankans are already in breach of the Participating Nation Agreement (PNA) and, irrespective of whether or not the top guns sign, 15 contracts have to be despatched to IDI Ltd,” the source added.

Incidentally, the PNA-deadline ended January 14.

For its part, the BCCSL has indicated it may pick afresh and eventually send a second-string. Well, such desperation at its Maitland Place HQ is understandable: Failure to offer the best — not the best available — 15 could invite claims for compensation from the World Cup’s sponsors.

By BCCSL chief executive Anura Tennekoon’s own admission, the stalemate continues.

[In New Delhi, the Delhi High Court reserved its order on the PIL till Wednesday. A division bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Devinder Gupta and Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed, heard the respondents and plaintiffs Monday.]

Meanwhile, speaking exclusively from Colombo, Sri Lankan Cricketers’ Association (SLCA) secretary Roshan Mahanama said the “picture may become clearer” once committee member (and ‘emissary’) Graeme Labrooy returned from Australia Tuesday.

“I suppose Graeme will straightaway interact with the BCCSL… Sitting across the table is different from talking long-distance or relying on e-mails,” Mahanana, who has only just returned from Australia (after a two-month private trip), pointed out.

Mahanama has himself been “out of the loop,” as he put it, because of his absence from Lanka. “I did a coaches’ course in Brisbane and, then, some coaching in Melbourne… In any case, I hold an honorary post,” he remarked.

Jayasuriya, by the way, is the SLCA president.

While nobody is speaking of it openly, there’s speculation that the BCCSL-players’ dispute, over the sharing of the financial pie, has something to do with the nasty politicking in that country’s cricket set-up.

Not for the first time, after all, an interim committee (with Hemaka Amarasuriya) is running the BCCSL and elections in April will see heavyweights Thilanga Sumathipala and Arjuna Ranatunga go for each other’s jugular.

For now, however, the ICC is at the BCCSL’s throat.

l Delhi HC hearing report on Page 24

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