Sri Lanka, Windies to scrap Tests for ODI series

Unable to convince the International Cricket Council (ICC) to provide an exclusive window for the Indian Premier League (IPL), the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have decided to do it on their own.

As their leading players are likely to be engaged in next year’s sixth IPL season of Twenty20 franchise cricket from April 3-May 26, the two governing bodies have agreed to replace their series of two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20s in the Caribbean that was scheduled for the same time on the ICC’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) with an ODI tri-series, also involving India.

WICB corporate communications manager Imran Khan said yesterday that all three boards had agreed in principle to the tri-series. Dates and details would be finalised following final sanction from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Reports in the Sri Lanka media claimed that the request for the tri-series had come from the WICB. The dates were given as June 13-25 but, as they would conflict with the ICC’s Champions Trophy ODI matches in England June 6-23, they are likely be adjusted.

According to the FTP, Zimbabwe are scheduled for two Tests, three ODIs and two ODIs in the Caribbean in February and March. Pakistan follow in July-August for two Tests, five ODIs and two Twenty20s.

It is the second time Sri Lanka have chosen to give the IPL priority over Tests. They declined to be a replacement after Zimbabwe’s scheduled series in England in May 2009 was cancelled for political reasons. The West Indies filled in instead. The latest adjustment highlights the dilemma the global proliferation of Twenty20 tournaments poses to the ICC.

At its June meeting in London, its cricket committee “agreed that international cricket, being the lifeblood of the world game, needs the ICC to play a leadership role to protect and promote international cricket”.  The key is how it handles its relationships with the IPL and other such tournaments. (Trinidad Express)