IPL reignites country or club debate

NEW DELHI, April 16, 2011 (AFP) – A Sri Lanka cricket board demand that national players involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) return to prepare for an England tour has reopened the long-running club versus country debate.

Eleven Sri Lankan cricketers are playing in the money-spinning IPL, including Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is likely to lead Sri Lanka in England with Kumar Sangakkara having resigned the captaincy after the World Cup.

Dilshan plays for the Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL franchise along with fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep; Sangakkara is the skipper of Deccan Chargers and Mahela Jayawardene leads new team Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

The players have been asked to return to Sri Lanka by May 5, more than three weeks before the IPL ends.

Asked if they would abandon their respective franchise teams just as the tournament approaches its climax, Sangakkara was non-committal.

“It is up to the Indian board and Sri Lanka Cricket to negotiate on the date of our return,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

“What we as players can do is to abide by the decision of our board.”

The lure of easy money on offer in the Twenty20 competition where one needs to play a maximum of 15 games over six weeks has a