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Lanka Cricket banking on Indian tours to stay afloat

Colombo:The Indian Cricket Board, BCCI`s refusal to allow its players in the Sri Lankan Premier League might have left it surprised and hurt but the island nation`s Cricket Board on Monday conceded that it is India on which it is banking on to stay afloat financially.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Monday denied that the body was facing liquidity problems but did admit that it would need "two or three tours" by Team India to manage its finances.

"There is no financial crisis," declared Sujeewa Rajapaksa, the SLC treasurer.

He said the slight problems arose when the SLC was forced to incur additional expenditure on hosting the World Cup after Pakistan`s games were shifted to the island nation.

"We had originally planned to host eight games and ended up hosting 12 games due to the Pakistan issue. All this caused additional infrastructure expenditure," Rajapaksa said.

Rs 4.4 billon were spent on the three World Cup venues — well above the estimated Rs 3.2 billion.

The March 2010 attack on the Sri Lanka team in Pakistan meant that additional measures were needed to be put in place to deal with terrorist threats.

"We received intelligence information on threats and therefore had to take additional security steps," Nishantha Ranatunga, the secretary of SLC, said.

Explaining the accounts situation, Rajapaksa said the SLC`s current account had not been overdrawn and currently being operated with a credit balance of Sri Lanka Rs 10 million.

He said the wages of SLC staff for May had been delayed only by two days due to an administrative hiccup.

It was reported that staff wages were held up for want of rupees 22 million and the SLC had opted to seek a government grant.

Admitting that a government grant was sought, Rajapaksa said, "We are a national institution generating money, it is within our rights to ask for a government grant."

"We are not an institution with a daily turn over. In the next seven to eight years, two or three Indian tours would make our investment realise in a short time", Rajapaksa hoped.

Hosting the World Cup had not realised any profits for SLC. The ICC had reimbursed the expenditure although some of it remains outstanding.

The BCCI has refused to allow Indian players in SLPL stating that the league is being organised by a private party on behalf of SLC. But the SLC has insisted that the event is completely owned by it.

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