Lanka Premier League to begin on August 28, to be played across four venues

Written by Sumit Seth

The much awaited Lanka Premier League (LPL) will finally be played from August 28 to September 20 in four venues with the participation of five teams, Cricket Age exclusively learns.

One of the long standing dreams of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to make this most popular T20 format encounter a reality. Under the supervision of president Shammi Silva, the SLC this time around is determined to make it a financially viable tournament.

The SLC is already in negotiation with players from the countries like South Africa, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies.

“Sri Lanka has done very well in containing the coronavirus as opposed to other countries in the region, and as such we have had a lot of interest from foreign players in taking part in the tournament. So far, many top cricketers from these countries have shown their interest in playing in the LPL” a top SLC administrator told Cricket Age.

Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry has already given a go-ahead for the tournament and the dates have been scheduled taking into account that Sri Lanka would be opening its borders for foreign arrivals in the first half of August.

The LPL will see five teams taking part, with SLC still accepting tenders regarding franchise ownership. Players will be selected through an auction process similar to the one popularized by the Indian Premier League (IPL), with each team allowed a maximum of six foreign players in a squad and four in the playing XI.

“A total number of 23 matches will be played and the five teams will be named after five cities – Jaffna, Colombo, Galle, Kandy and Dambulla. Accordingly, the matches will be played in Dambulla, Hambantota, Colombo and Pallekelle” the top SLC administrator added.

The tournament will be played in round-robin format, followed by semi-finals and final.

As of now, each of India, Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the West Indies and South Africa have their own versions of franchise leagues. In the past, various boards in Sri Lanka have tried to begin a premier league in the country but failed to get it going, but the island nation looks contended for the tournament in 2020.

*The story has been updated at 11.18 PM (IST).

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Sumit Seth