Colombo: Sri Lanka's cricketers want next year's hastily arranged Test tour of England to be rescheduled as the dates clash with the lucrative Indian Premier League, sources close to the team said Thursday.
"The players met Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and urged him to get the tour postponed or played after the IPL," one source told AFP.
"The president was very sympathetic towards the players and agreed to look into their request."
The tour, arranged earlier this month after England suspended bilateral cricket relations with Zimbabwe, includes two Tests, three one-dayers and four warm-up games and runs from April 21 to May 30.
The IPL, which features at least 13 top Sri Lankans including captain Mahela Jayawardene and star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, is due to be played between April 10 and May 25.
However, one of the problems the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would face in re-scheduling Sri Lanka's tour is that the 2009 Twenty20 World Cup, which England are hosting, is due to start on June 5.
That leaves little room in the English calendar for altering the dates of Sri Lanka's visit especially as England face Australia in a showpiece Ashes later in their season.
One top Sri Lankan player, who declined to be named, told AFP the cricketers had handed the president a letter when they met him on Wednesday to celebrate their victory in the recent Asia Cup in Pakistan.
"We wrote a letter, signed by all of us, appealing to the president to either call off the tour or push back the dates," he said.
Rajapakse's spokesman said the president had instructed Sri Lanka's sports minister Gamini Lokuge to raise this issue when Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee meets later on Thursday.
"The president promised to look into the players' grievances and instructed the sports minister to ask the interim committee to draw up alternative proposals," spokesman Lucien Rajakarunanayake told AFP.
The tour was formalised between the ECB and Sri Lanka Cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga on the sidelines of the International Cricket Council meetings in Dubai earlier this month.
This is not the first time Sri Lankan players have demanded an international series be scrapped so they could play in the IPL.
Sri Lanka's limited-overs tour of Pakistan was cancelled in April-May this year because the dates clashed with the IPL's inaugural tournament.