Sri Lanka last played a Test series against the West Indies in late 2010
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have both agreed to scrap two Test matches that were supposed to take place in Sri Lanka’s tour to the Caribbean in May next year.
Alternatively, both cricket boards have contacted the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and are currently in discussions to perhaps play an ODI tri-series instead.
The decision to scrap the Test series will mean that players from both the West Indies and Sri Lanka will be free to play in next year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), which is scheduled to take place from April 3 to May 26.
The tour was supposed to consist of two Tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20 Internationals, but as of right now it is unclear whether the Twenty20 series will be played as well.
SLC chief executive Ajit Jayasekara insisted that the cancellation of the Test series was not due to the clash with the IPL, but when asked why it was done, he did not have an answer.
Jayasekara stated that it was the WICB’s idea, and after holding a series of meetings, the SLC agreed to remove the Test series from the tour programme.
When asked why both boards were desperate to hold an ODI tri-series instead, Jayasekara stated that the move would be “more lucrative for the board”.
WICB corporate communications manager Imran Khan stated that all three cricket boards had expressed interest in the tri-series and the that the dates would be finalised later.
This is the second time Sri Lanka have cancelled a Test series that has clashed with the IPL, with the first coming in 2009 when they refused to replace Zimbabwe, who were unable to tour due to political reasons, in a series with England.
Just last year when Sri Lanka were touring England, many of their senior players, including Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene made themselves unavailable for selection due to the IPL, and Sri Lanka ended up losing the three Test series against England 1-0.
However, the IPL addiction has not only hit the Sri Lanka team, as West Indies spinner Sunil Narine missed the first two Tests against England earlier this year due to the IPL.
In recent times, the SLC have had the habit of scrapping Test series, as a two Test series in July against India was turned into a five-match ODI series, along with one Twenty20 International as well.
In March this year Sri Lanka also cut down their Test series with England from three Tests to two due to the IPL.
Having changed their schedule with the West Indies, it now means that Sri Lanka will not play a single away Test match against a top-eight ranked opposition from January 2013 to December 2013.
A senior BCCI official stated that the board had heard about the proposed tri-series, but nothing would be finalised just yet.
“We have been told about this but the matter is being discussed. Nothing has been decided or finalised yet,” the official said.
During its annual meeting in Malaysia this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) decided not to create a window for the IPL since they did not want to give a domestic tournament priority over international cricket.
During the meeting, then ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said: “Once you provide a window for one particular member, you have to be conscious of the fact you may well have to do it for other members, hence why we have not been supportive of a window specifically for any one of those domestic leagues.”