Andrew Fidel Fernando in ESPNcricinfo, 2 Septmber 2020
Sri Lanka Cricket has announced fresh dates for the Lanka Premier League (LPL), which has now been scheduled between November 14 and December 6. However, government approval for a shorter quarantine period for players, officials and broadcast staff is yet to be secured; it is this hurdle that had forced the postponement of the LPL, originally slated to begin in late August. The SLC officials have asked that the quarantine period for those arriving in the country for this tournament be reduced to seven days, from the present 14-day period.
“We’re speaking with the health authorities and the government about this, and hope to have an answer by the end of this week,” SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne told ESPNcricinfo.
There is no known community spread of Covid-19 in Sri Lanka at present, but quarantine protocols have been incredibly strict in order to prevent the spread of the virus from infected new arrivals.
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If the tournament goes ahead as the SLC’s latest plans suggest, it will be played in three venues – Sooriyawewa, Pallekele and Dambulla, with the semi-finals and final to be played in Pallekele. Colombo will not see any action, with the Khettarama stadium still undergoing renovation.
Five franchises are expected to take part, taking their names from Colombo, Galle, Dambulla, Kandy and Jaffna. The Galle side – called the Gladiators – have found a franchisee, with a Pakistan-based company coming on board. Franchisees for the other four teams are yet to be finalised. Wickramaratne said there was substantial investor interest in the franchises, but that potential franchisees were being thoroughly vetted by the tournament event-runner, Innovative Production Group.
As per the SLC’s current schedule, the LPL will feature 23 matches. The updated schedule means the tournament will also overlap with the northeast monsoon, which brings significant rainfall to all three of the proposed venues. But although it is likely the tournament will be rain-affected, in recent years, the SLC’s ground-management systems have made it possible to host successful cricket tours during this period.