Colombo:Sri Lanka has allowed its cricketers to play in next year's Indian Premier League at the expense of their Test series against England, prompting a word of caution from ICC advising players not to fall for the lure of easy money.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) says it has decided to make the concession because the players have committed themselves to another series against England in 2011.
"The players were already committed to playing in the IPL for three years (2008-10) but have assured us they will give the 2011 tour of England top priority ahead of the IPL. Taking this into consideration we couldn't let them down," SLC chief executive Duleep Mendis said.
However, SLC's decision has evoked sharp criticism from the ICC with CEO Haroon Lorgat fearing it might be the start of a dangerous trend.
"If we don't manage this situation we could be threatening the lifeblood of all member countries. International cricket generates revenue that is essential to our survival," Lorgat was quoted as saying by a leading cricket website.
"My folks always used to say to me to be careful because money is the root of all evil. The root of this issue is the sums of money involved - it is far more attractive financially to play in the IPL," he added.
Lorgat said it was SLC's responsibility to ensure that players don't fall for the easy money on offer at the IPL.
"It is up to Sri Lanka to sort out the situation. To satisfy players financially by relying on their payments from IPL is not sustainable," he said.
"Players have short careers and they want immediate rewards but we have to educate them about the development of the game. All of us, players included, must be responsible during this time of enormous opportunity," he observed.
Lorgat reiterated that the ICC was considering the possibility of having a window for IPL in the international calendar.
"There is no doubt that there are inherent conflicts in the situation. Each country would rather look after its own interests and then you also have to get together to look after the global interests. I would hope that the ICC has people with the integrity to look after the game globally.
"I suspect that the prospect of a window for IPL is a subject that will not disappear from the radar," he said.