Vettori for IPL window

Kiwi reacts after Lanka decide to recall their players

 SLC had agreed in principle that those Sri Lankans playing in the IPL and also picked for the tour of England need not join the team until May 22 – the IPL ends on May 28 – but a couple of days back, SLC made it clear that it wanted its players back home by May 5 and leave with the team for England on May 10 for the tour beginning on May 14.

The players themselves have been cautiously and prudently quiet on the issue even as the BCCI is trying to get SLC to loosen its stance. In all, 11 Sri Lankans have earned IPL contracts, including the injured duo of Angelo Mathews and Dilhara Fernando, and all of them are active cricketers except Muttiah Muralitharan, recently retired from all forms of international cricket.

Men such as Tillakaratne Dilshan, expected to lead Sri Lanka in England after Kumar Sangakkara quit the captaincy earlier this month, Sangakkara himself, former skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga, Suraj Randiv, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera are certain to travel to England, leaving their franchises short-changed after they had been bought along with the assurance that they will be available for the entire duration of the IPL except the last week.

IPL teams now face the real possibility of being without star performers – in some instances skippers, what with Sangakkara at the helm of the Deccan Chargers and Jayawardene leading Kochi Tuskers Kerala – when the IPL race hots up. The franchises have little option but to wait and watch, and hope for the best.

“Most of the players would like for a window for the IPL. If it is not there, people need to get on with it,” Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Daniel Vettori said, addressing the Dilshan conundrum. “A majority of the players understand that the country comes first. We would like to find a balance between playing for the country and playing for our franchises so that no one misses IPL and no one misses international cricket.”

The window for the IPL is a topic that has been discussed for a long time, but neither has the BCCI or the IPL asked for a window, nor has the International Cricket Council even contemplated providing that two-month period when there is no international cricket scheduled. Asked if, in these days of hectic scheduling and crammed international calendars, it was feasible to have a window, the New Zealand left-arm spinner replied, “It depends on the countries. We are fortunate that coming from New Zealand, it is winter there and so there is no cricket played back home. But that may not always be the case. It will be great to have some type of window.”

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