New Delhi:Much to the pleasure of 'rebel' Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Sri Lanka cricket board (SLC) has lifted the ban on five players to play in domestic tournaments. The decision has come just after 13 Bangladesh players were banned by their board for joining the league.
SLC CEO Duleep Mendis told a leading cricket website that the decision was taken after a request from the cricketers.
"The interim committee has allowed these ICL players to play in domestic cricket after they sought permission to do so. This decision refers to a specific application from a specific group of players to take part in domestic cricket," Mendis said.
The previous interim committee of the SLC, led by Jayantha Dharmadasa, had imposed a total ban on all national cricketers playing the ICL tournament, preventing them from taking part in all forms of cricket and cricket related activities locally and internationally. However, the present SLC administration led by Arjuna Ranatunga appears to be adopting a very different stance. Some of the players, who had taken part in the ICL tournament in India, have already been allowed to take part in few cricket related activities locally.
The Sri Lankan board's move is quite contrary to the BCCI's position. The Indian cricket board has banned all ICL players from participating in events organised by it and it is quite irked with SLC's softened stance and plans to take up the matter to International Cricket Council.
"We have come to know about it (lifting of ban). It is very strange. We have not spoken to the Sri Lankan cricket board till now. But will take up this issue with the ICC," BCCI Secretary Niranjan Shah said.
The BCCI was instrumental in persuading the other cricket boards to ban ICL players and Bangladesh, Pakistan, etc. agreed to the decision.
The five cricketers who are now eligible to play for their respective clubs are: former Sri Lanka skipper Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold, Upul Chandana, Avishka Gunawardene and Saman Jayantha. Apart from these cricketers, umpire Ranmore Martinesz was also banned but he too has been allowed to officiate in club matches.
With the ban off, Gunawardene has been allowed to coach at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) while Russel Arnold was allowed to be a commentator for the state-run radio during the recently concluded Indian tour. These cricketers can also be seen in Sri Lanka's Premier League and the limited-overs domestic tournament.
Commenting on the move, a cricket expert said that the ICL and the IPL were two rival entities within India and there was no reason for other cricket boards to back one and reject the other.
"ICL or IPL both are from India and both play the same version of cricket. I do not think that other cricket boards should get into their local politics by taking sides," he said.
(With agency inputs)