Sri Lanka’s new domestic Cricket structure unanimously passed at EGM

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Paving the way for a fresh beginning, Sri Lanka’s new domestic Cricket structure was Saturday unanimously ratified during board’s Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), Cricket Age exclusively learns. The EGM was held virtually in consideration of the prevailing health guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health.

The domestic calendar for next 3 years has been designed by the Tournament Committee of the SLC in consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee and the belief is that this is the most ‘sensible’ route to fix Sri Lanka cricket structure.

Accordingly, once the COVID crisis ends in the Island, the new season will be kicked-off with the Major Limited-Over Inter-Club tournament followed by the Major League Inter-Club tournament. Both tournaments will be run concurrently to each other. All 26 clubs will play in the League tournament in two groups of 13 teams each at the end of which the leader of each group will qualify to play in a 4-day final.

Following the completion of the Major League Inter-Club the top performers in the tournament will be picked by the national selection committee to form five teams that will play in a Super League Tournament.

“All the stakeholder of Sri Lanka cricket approved the structure with thumping majority, pointing out that this is the best way in moving forward” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.

Indeed, there were few objections, but even those were in positive manner and for the betterment of the game in the Island.

“Few clubs raised the fear that they might be relegated, but board president Mr. Shammi Silva took the initiative and explained his visoin and promised stakeholders to stand tall for their interests in fair manner” top SLC official added.

In another notable development, during the EGM, it was decided that from hereon the domestic tournaments will be played on neutral grounds.

“We wants a fare competition. Accordingly, we have identified 18 neutral venues for the tournaments matches and we are also going to appoint a 3 member committee, which will oversee the preparation of wickets. Legends like Roy Dias have already given their nod to serve the committee” top SLC official added further.

During the much awaited EGM, SLC’s accounts were also passed. The membership unanimously ratified the adoption of the Audited Financial Statement of Accounts of Sri Lanka Cricket for the Financial Year ending 2020, which was certified by the Auditor General, in accordance with the National Associations of Sports Regulations, No. 01 of 2016 (as amended) promulgated by the Minister of Sports under section 41 read with section 31 of the Sports Law, No 25 of 1973, vide Gazette Extraordinary No. 2166/9 of 20th March 2020 [section 5 (c)].

“This is the start of a new calendar and it will be there for the next three years or so. It’s immaterial who comes into the administration, a structure has to be in place for years and years. People just come and go and they change it and it’s a mess for everyone,” new Tournament Committee chairman Samantha Dodanwela had said earlier, who has undertaken the task of framing a domestic cricket calendar that could remain a permanent fixture for the future. Dodanwela is among most respected cricket personalities in Sri Lanka cricket.

Amid the speculations and confusion over the new domestic cricket structure in the Island, one of the top most decision maker of Sri Lanka had confirmed Cricket Age on August 10 itself that there will be only 15 First Class teams remained by 2023.

“From this year itself, we are intended of relegating 4 teams. Next year (2022) four more teams will be relegated followed by 3 in 2023. So, by 2023, we will bring down First Class teams from 26 to 15” the top most decision maker had told Cricket Age.

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N Krishnamurthy