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Sri Lankan players available for IPL

The decks were cleared for the Sri Lankan players' participation in next year's Indian Premier League with England hosting West Indies in May next year.

Sri Lanka were supposed to tour England after the British Government had cancelled the home series against Zimbabwe, the timing, of which coincided with the second edition of the IPL. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) soon found itself in a spot of bother with 13 frontline players refusing to tour England which would have cost them participation in the cash-rich IPL.

But with the West Indies scheduled to tour England in May, SLC has been spared the crisis, which threatened to snowball into a mass revolt. Incidentally, several West Indians -- including Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, Dwayne Bravo -- also have IPL deals.

West Indies will play two Tests and three ODIs starting at Lord's on May 6. "The ECB is delighted that West Indies will replace Zimbabwe for the 2009 tour," ECB chief executive David Collier said.

"West Indies are always popular visitors and this completes a wonderful summer of cricket, which also includes the Ashes series and the World Twenty20.

"The ECB is most grateful for the excellent support and co-operation provided by the West Indies Board, with whom we have developed an excellent and warm relationship."

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