New Delhi: The Sri Lankan cricketers' involvement in this year's Indian Premier League could be curtailed after the team confirmed a two-match ODI series against Ireland as a build-up to its tour of England in May.
The matches, set for on May 6 and 8, would fall in the middle of the IPL, the final schedule of which is still to be worked out. The players' auction for the event will take place on February 13. The Sri Lankan would be free to play in the IPL only if their Board chooses not to enforce the policy of putting national duty over IPL in view of the fact that the short series is against an Associate country.
"It's a fantastic opportunity for our squad to face players of the calibre of Kumar Sangakkara, Angelo Matthews, Tillakaratne Dilshan and of course Lasith Malinga," Ireland's coach Phil Simmons was quoted as saying by Cricinfo. "They're going to be tough opposition but Irish conditions in May will be to our advantage."
Simmons said the matches would be a valuable learning experience for the Irish. "Ireland need as many matches as possible against Full Member sides: it's how we measure ourselves now in terms of our cricketing progress. We'll be gearing our preparation towards the 2015 World Cup, and this series is ideal," he said.
"Last year couldn't have gone much better in terms of the fact that we won three trophies and continued our domination against our fellow Associates. We did, however, miss opportunities to claim victories against both Pakistan and England when in strong positions.
"We'll be looking to take our cricket to the next level in 2014 by winning from these types of situations, pressing home our advantage when we're on top." Sri Lanka's previous visit to Ireland was way back in 1979 for a first-class match, which ended as a draw.