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Rebel Sri Lanka cricketers will be banned, says SLC

CRICKET: Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) yesterday warned that they would come hard on any players who will participate in the breakaway multi million dollar Indian Cricket League which is scheduled for October.

The announcement comes in the wake of several reports that some of the top Lankan cricketers are planning to join the rebel league which has already taken the cricketing world by storm.

According to the Sri Lanka Cricket statement players participating in any tournament or league other than SLC approved events will not be eligible for selection to represent the country.

The Secretary SLC Kangadaran Mathivanan said that players who would participate in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) will not be associated with any official cricket activity in the country.

The rebel players will not be considered for selection to play even in domestic cricket, hold any position in the cricket administration or even officiate as umpires or commentators.

Mathivanan added that so far no current player has approached SLC seeking permission to take part in the Indian Cricket League. However former captain Marvan Atapattu and a veteran of 88 Test matches was released by the SLC from his central contract last week.

Apart from Atapattu, opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya and the recently retired Russel Arnold have been linked with the Indian Cricket League. But Arnold who has just commenced a career as a television commentator was the only player to publicly acknowledge his desire to take part.

Mathivanan further stated that all national players who are currently on a month’s break from cricket after the Bangladesh series will have to report to Colombo by August 20 with the exception of those playing county cricket.

The Sri Lankan team are scheduled to leave for South Africa for the inaugural Twenty20 World Championship on September 5.

Sri Lanka’s new coaching staff are due to arrive next week and will commence training and practice from August 18. Trevor Bayliss has replaced Tom Moody as coach, Paul Farbrace from Trevor Penney as assistant coach and Jade Roberts from CJ Clarke as the team’s trainer.

The SLC’s latest decision follows a similar move by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Pakistan Cricket Board to bar rebel players from official cricket.

The Sri Lankan cricket administration enforced a 25 year ban on 14 cricketers led by then Test captain Bandula Warnapura for playing in South Africa in 1982 after they defied a government ban against any sporting contact with the then apartheid regime.

The ban was of course lifted in 1990 and some rebel players are currently involved in the game’s administration.

The Indian Cricket League which is bankrolled by India’s largest listed media house, Zee Telefilms is planning to hold a series of Twenty20 cricket matches between six city teams in October and November.

Each squad will comprise as many as four international players, two Indian stars and eight up andcoming cricketers, according to an Indian Cricket League announcement. However the Indian board’s tough stance has already made it difficult for the rival series to recruit current cricketers from both within and outside the country.

Retired West Indian captain Brian Lara, Test cricket’s highest run getter, is the only top player to have confirmed his participation in the competition, which carries a winner’s cheque of one million dollars.

The Indian Cricket League is reminiscent of the rebel World Cricket Series commenced by Australian TV tycoon Kerry Packer in 1977. Packer launched his series after being denied official TV rights by the Australian Cricket Board for matches played in that country.

Zee Telefilms was rejected by the Board of Control for Cricket in India despite making the highest bid of 308 million US dollars for Indian rights for a four year period in 2004.

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