The 2021 edition of the Lankan Premier League (LPL) is set to be postponed with a formal announcement from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) expected soon. The tournament was supposed to be held at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota from July 30 to August 22 but is now likely to be rescheduled between November and December although several hurdles need to be crossed before any plan is put in place again.
There are multiple factors which have caused the season to be postponed with the absence of star overseas players being right at the top of the pile. The LPL is the joint venture of SLC and Dubai-based Innovative Production Group FZE (IPG), the rights holders of the LPL.
Three of the five franchises that took part in the league’s opening season last year do not feature (as of the 9th of July) in the LPL. SLC and IPG have terminated the contracts of Colombo Kings, Dambulla Viiking and Jaffna Stallions and the approval for the new managements has not yet been received. The KYCs of the three new managements are still awaiting clearance from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The other big issue is the massive altercation between the SLC and the Sri Lankan players over the central contracts. The players for now, sans Angelo Mathews, have mutually agreed to hold off their protests only for the India series starting in Colombo on July 13.
“It (the postponement) is not about the participation of the foreign players alone. There is an element of uncertainty over the Lankan players too. So we have thought the postponement was the best solution at this stage," said an official involved in the league.
“Besides, there are also issues over the pandemic situation in the island."
The decision to postpone the league seems to have been taken in consultation with Namal Rajapaksa, the Sports Minister of Lanka, who was instrumental in launching the LPL last year.