After crossing a myriad of obstacles on the way, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have finally confirmed that the inaugural edition of the Lankan Premier League will kick-off on November 14. The five-team tournament was originally scheduled for August, but had to be postponed due to multiple complications.
Weeks after confirming that they were going to host Bangladesh, Sri Lanka have now finalized the start date of the inaugural edition of the Lankan Premier League (LPL). The five-team tournament, which is expected to be played across three international venues - Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium - will commence on November 14 and will run till December 6. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) confirmed the news in a release they sent out on Wednesday.
“Sri Lanka Cricket expects to officially launch the eagerly awaited Sri Lanka Premier League T20 cricket tournament in early November,” the SLC said in a statement, reported Hindustan Times.
The finalization of the dates comes as a major relief for SLC, who have already endured a ton of obstacles with respect to the tournament. The tournament was initially scheduled to be played between August 28 to September 20 but then had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and to avoid clashing with Indian Premier. The board were then hoping to host the competition a month or so later, in the September window, but quarantine restrictions in Sri Lanka meant that they had to also do away with the second plan.
The current scheduling also makes it easier for the competition to accommodate more foreign players, as the tournament dates will not coincide with the Indian Premier League, which will conclude on November 10. However, there will still be quarantine complications that SLC would need to fight through.
As things stand, LPL is expected to be a five-team tournament set to feature teams from Colombo, Galle, Dambulla, Kandy and Jaffna. The franchise names are, however, yet to be finalized by the board and the organizers.
“The tournament will not only create a platform for local players to develop their skills by playing side by side with world-class players, but will also provide an opportunity for Sri Lankan cricket fans to watch a quality cricket tournament,” the organizers said.
Earlier, it was rumored that India’s Irfan Pathan was one amongst 143 overseas players to be shortlisted for the tournament draft. However, there has been no official word from the board as to how many foreign players will feature in the competition.