Indian pull-out scuppers Sri Lankan event

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The Independent Online

The inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League has been postponed to next year following the withdrawal of top Indian cricketers.

"The company which is organising [the tournament] said financially they are not in a shape to organise this without the Indian players," Sri Lanka's sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage said.

Twelve Indian players – including the likes of Dinesh Karthik, Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel – were set to participate in the 19 July-4 Aug event modelled on the successful Indian Premier League (IPL). But they were denied permission by the Indian cricket board (BCCI) that eventually led to the tournament's postponement less than a fortnight before the proposed start.

Aluthgamage had earlier said the BCCI's opposition stemmed from their suspicion that former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who was sacked on financial irregularity charges, was behind the tournament. Sri Lanka Cricket's media manager Brian Thomas said once the Indian players had withdrawn, it was difficult to go ahead with the event. "We couldn't do a tournament of this magnitude [in absence of the Indian players]. It is not a financial issue, it's a logistical problem."

Aluthgamage said the league would be replaced by a domestic tournament. "The board is meeting today to discuss this and they will have the tournament without the foreign players, similar to the one held last year."

West Indian Kieron Pollard, Pakistan's Shahid Afridi and New Zealand's Daniel Vettori were among the foreign players recruited for the Twenty20 tournament.

Warwickshire off-spinner Maurice Holmes, meanwhile, has been suspended from bowling in county cricket until a second independent analysis of his action.

The 21-year-old's action was reported during the Clydesdale Bank 40 match between Warwickshire and Leicestershire on 1 May and during the Second Xl Trophy match between Warwickshire and Nottinghamshire on 13 June.

An initial analysis proved inconclusive due to Holmes bowling too slowly in the tests. Holmes has played four first-class matches for Warwickshire.