Sri Lanka Cricket chief fears player exodus

March 11, 2008 (AFP) – Young cricketers may soon opt out of playing for their country because of the huge amounts of money available in the sport, Sri Lanka’s cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga said on Tuesday. Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain in 1996, said he was worried about the future of younger players who could be tempted to join the cash-rich Twenty20 leagues in India.

“It is India today, it could be another country tomorrow that will be offering large sums of money to players,” said Ranatunga.

“I have no problem with senior players joining these leagues, but the younger players worry me.

“I have heard them say that there are ways of making money even if one does not get picked for the national team.”

Top Sri Lankans like Sanath Jayasuriya, captain Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Chamara Silva and Tillekaratne Dilshan have all been contracted to play in the Indian Premier League starting on April 18.

Retired Test stars like Marvan Atapattu and Russel Arnold, who are playing for the rebel Indian Cricket league, have been banned from holding any post in the Sri Lankan cricket establishment. IPL franchises bought players for

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