Kumar Sangakkara said that the tour of India forced the Sri Lankan players to abruptly end their intense fitness programme. © Getty Images

Kumar Sangakkara said that the tour of India forced the Sri Lankan players to abruptly end their intense fitness programme. © Getty Images

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said it had followed due procedures when agreeing to the short five-match One-Day International tour of India that will begin in November, and said the decision was taken in the best interest of the game after West Indies cut their tour of India short prematurely.

When disagreements between the West Indies players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) forced a dramatic exit for the Caribbean side, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) requested SLC for a short ODI series to fill in the breach, and the request was immediately acceded to.

Justifying their decision, SLC said their executive committee collectively decided to accept India’s invitation.

“SLC prior to making the decision to confirm the tour with the BCCI, through its secretary Mr Nishantha Ranatunga, had discussions with the national selection committee headed by Hon. Sanath Jayasuriya, the coaching staff and the management of the national team,” it said on Monday (October 20), adding that the decision was arrived at “after receiving the concurrence of all concerned.”

Kumar Sangakkara had earlier taken to Twitter to convey his unhappiness at the last-minute decision, saying it wasn’t a well-thought out move given the Sri Lankan players who were in the midst of an intense fitness programme.

 

SLC, however, pointed out that the BCCI had originally requested the tour begin in late October itself, but they hadn’t agreed to such an early date due to the preparation the national players were going through.

“Due to the required preparation undertaken by the national team, it was agreed by both BCCI & SLC to begin the tour from 1st of November 2014.”

SLC added that the tour would be a good opportunity for some of the fringe players to show their talent and get in the reckoning for the upcoming World Cup, and also harked back to the solidarity shown by India and Pakistan during the 1996 World Cup, when Australia and West Indies had pulled out of their matches in Sri Lanka, only for their subcontinental neighbours to send a joint team for an exhibition match. “All Sri Lankan cricket fans will remember how India and Pakistan toured Sri Lanka to show their solidarity when Australia and West indies refused to play in Sri Lanka in the 1996 Wills World Cup,” said SLC.

The BCCI hasn’t yet confirm the schedule for the five ODIs, but is expected to do so at the emergency meeting of the working committee slated to be held on Tuesday in Hyderabad.

A final call on the venues and the dates for the Sri Lanka ODIs will be taken in this meeting. While the BCCI follows different allocations of rotation for Test matches and limited-overs internationals, it could decide to allocate the five Sri Lanka ODIs to the venues that lost out on the West Indies tour – Kolkata, Cuttack, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad.

Kolkata will, in any case, host one of the ODIs to allow the Cricket Association of Bengal to complete its celebration of 150 years of Eden Gardens.