The Sri Lanka Premier League, which was discontinued after its inaugural season in 2012 due to organizational problems and lack of sponsorship, is set to restart after an 8 year hiatus. As per a release from Sri Lanka Cricket, the Sri Lanka Cricket Executive Committee granted approval to conduct the T20 League from the 28th of August at a meeting held yesterday. The tournament will feature 5 teams, one each from the cities of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna.
According to the media release, over 70 International Cricketers and 10 top-class coaches have confirmed their availability for the tournament.
The bidding for the Event’s Title Holder is due to close on July 30th and the schedule of the matches are to be published afterwards. 23 matches are scheduled to be played at 4 International Cricket venues; the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, the Rangiri Dambulu International Cricket Stadium, the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium.
However, the commencement of the league will be subject to the government and Ministry of Health approval, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the Sri Lankan government have not implemented lockdowns or curfews for over a month, and has not had escalation in COVID cases according to official figures, flights into the island are tightly controlled. Even the repatriation of Sri Lankans currently stands suspended.
SLC CEO Ashley de Silva told ESPNcricinfo the board currently has little information about how foreign players and coaches can be brought to Sri Lanka, nor does it know how long they will have to be in quarantine upon arrival. SLC is hopeful the Sri Lankan government will assist with logistics.
However, there has been substantial corporate interest in the tournament, according to de Silva. As mentioned earlier, the board is hoping to lock down a tournament sponsor by July 30, and to find franchise owners in the weeks after that. No tournament director or event coordinator has yet been named.
Due to the fact that Sri Lanka have handled the COVID-19 quite well like the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand, the Cricket Board is optimistic about the materialization of the tournament. However, there are a few substantial hurdles to be cleared before its commencement, out of which the most significant being the support of the government.