Lanka Premier League dates may change, and could be held in Malaysia or UAE

November 02, 2020

The Lanka Premier League's 21 November start date is being reconsidered, while there is also now a possibility the tournament will be moved to the UAE or Malaysia.

Tournament director Ravin Wickramaratne told Cricday that Sri Lanka Cricket would much prefer to play the tournament on the island. However, the 14-day quarantine that Sri Lanka's health ministry is insisting on increasingly appears a dealbreaker for some foreign players, as well as an operational obstacle for broadcast crews and commentators set to come for the tournament.

Having repeatedly cancelled previous iterations of the tournament, SLC is desperate to make it happen this year, and is now considering three options, Wickramaratne said.

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"The first option is to play the tournament across two venues in Sri Lanka - in Hambantota and Pallekele - but we might have to move the tournament back by about one week. The second option is to play it all in one venue, which will make the arrangements around a biosecure bubble for players and staff more straightforward.

"The last option, which we would rather not take, is to play in the UAE or Malaysia. This is a Sri Lankan tournament so it should be played here. But this has been a much-awaited tournament, and there are many Sri Lankan players who have been waiting to play in it. So we want to play it."

SLC officials and tournament organisers are now set to meet with Sri Lanka's health ministry on Wednesday, after which the path forward will be clearer. Among SLC's requests is for players to be required to do a five to seven-day quarantine only, after which they would be allowed to begin training within the LPL bubble.

Sri Lanka's sports minister Namal Rajapaksa is also understood to be supporting SLC's requests, but has not so far succeeded in securing a more flexible quarantine plan from another wing in his own government. Although it is likely that both the minister and SLC officials are wary of criticising the health ministry's staunch position for fear such criticism could come off as callous, within the board at least there seems to be mounting frustration that health authorities are thwarting attempts to bring high-profile cricket back to the island. Among the arguments SLC is likely to make is that the LPL will be a significant economic boon to Sri Lanka's economy, in a difficult time.

The owner of at least one of the franchises - Jaffna Stallions - has expressed support for the LPL despite uncertainties surrounding it, stating that the franchise is aware it must be adaptable in a pandemic year. There are also talks from tournament organisers to bring Andre Russell back into the league, although Wickramaratne had earlier said he was out of the LPL due to injury. Russell's hamstring may heal in time for him to play the IPL playoffs, however.

At present, the LPL is set to run from November 21 to December 13, with matches to be played in Hambantota and Pallekele.

Disclaimer: This news is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Cricday. Source Link