Colombo:Former captain Duleep Mendis has been asked to explore a solution on the vexed issue of Sri national cricketers committing to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) despite the cash-awash Twenty20 tournament clashing dates with the Lankan team's England tour next year.
"I have been asked to see how the matter could be sorted out. I will be having a chat with the players," Mendis said on Saturday.
Asked if a middle path could be explored to deal with the issue, Mendis said, "One of the options is whether the Lankan players could in between the IPL tournament join the national team for the England tour and then return back to the Indian tournament."
Mendis, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Chief Executive Officer, refused to elaborate on the possible outcome of his meeting with the players and merely said he was hopeful of an amicable solution.
SLC Chairman Arjuna Ranatunga has asked the players to be available for national duty during the England tour though the IPL-bound players reportedly expressed their reservations.
Ranatunga said SLC stance could be altered only by the Sports and Recreation Minister Gamini Lokuge's intervention, who last eveningappointed Mendis to resolve the crisis between the Interim Committee and the players who have signed contracts with IPL franchises.
Since the second edition of the Twenty20 tournament will clash with Sri Lanka's tour to England next year, Minister Lokuge was expected to decide on the matter yesterday following a discussion with both the parties.
But, he deferred a final decision as many players had expressed their inability to attend the meeting. He will now also take into account the report to be submitted by Mendis before arriving at any decision.
The reasoning by the players was that they had taken the permission from SLC before committing to play for the IPL much before the tour dates for England were finalised.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Sanath Jayasuriya, Chamara Kapugedra, Farveez Maharoof, Nuwan Zoysa, Ajantha Mendis, Chamara Silva, Tillekaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga are among those who have signed lucrative three year deals with the IPL franchises.
Sri Lanka accepted an invitation to play two Tests and three one-day internationals in England after ECB severed sporting ties with Zimbabwe because of the political unrest in the African country.
The second edition of IPL starts on April 10 and clashes with the first Test match between England and Sri Lanka which is scheduled to start from May 8.