The West Indies'Kieron Pollard was one foreign star due to take part in the league [GALLO/GETTY]

The inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League has been postponed to next year following the withdrawal of Indian cricketers, the island nation's sports minister said on Friday.
 
"The company which is organising (the tournament) said financially they are not in a shape to organise this without the Indian players," sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the Reuters news agency. 

Twelve Indian players including Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel were set to participate in the July 19 to August 4 event modelled on the successful Indian Premier League (IPL), but were denied permission by the Indian cricket board (BCCI).

It has now led to the tournament's postponement less than a fortnight before the proposed start.

Aluthgamage had earlier said the BCCI's opposition stemmed from their suspicion that former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, who was sacked on financial irregularity charges, was behind the tournament.
 
Sri Lanka Cricket's media manager Brian Thomas said once the Indian players had withdrawn, it was difficult to go ahead with the event.
 
"We thought we can't do a tournament of this magnitude (in absence of the Indian players). It is not a financial issue, it's a logistical problem."

Aluthgamage said the league would be replaced by a domestic tournament.

"The board is meeting today to discuss this and they will have the tournament without the foreign players, similar to the one held last year."

West Indian Kieron Pollard, Pakistan's Shahid Afridi and New Zealand's Daniel Vettori were among the foreign players recruited for the Twenty20 tournament.

Source: Agencies