SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne is optimistic that inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) will go ahead as per schedule despite the fact that government health approvals are yet to come in.
According to a ESPNcricinfo report, SLC has found an organiser for the tournament, however, signing a five-year deal with the Dubai-based Innovative Production Group (IPG), a company that has previously been involved in Pakistan Super League production and broadcasts.
It will be down to the organisers, IPG, to find franchises for the LPL, as well as secure sponsors, and conduct an LPL draft.
The five franchises will represent Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna. The tournament is slated to commence on August 28 and conclude on September 20.
According to officials 70 overseas players have expressed a strong interest in playing.
“We are ready to start on the 28th, but there are some areas where we will have to be in line with the health authorities,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Wickramaratne as saying.
“By the 13th they will give us the guidelines as to what to do with the players. We had a couple of meetings with the health authorities, who have come up with health guidelines for tourists. They’d have to be in quarantine for seven days, but then their movements are restricted. We are trying to see whether foreign players can be exempted. We are not the experts, so we will wait for their guidance,” he added.
The major concern, however, is the quarantine period overseas players will be required to undergo upon arrival in Sri Lanka. Teams are not due to be finalised until next week, which means players are unlikely to arrive more than 10 days out from the scheduled start.
At present, new arrivals on the island are expected to spend at least seven days in quarantine (they have the option of doing so at specially designated luxury hotels), which means players would have only a few days; preparations with their teams, at most.
“The other concern is some of the players coming from Australia, South Africa and England. I think in England airports are operational, but other countries - their airports are closed. That’s what we will have to look into, whether we get those players to a central point and then charter them here. But we are still waiting for IPG to inform us who are the players, and where they are coming from” Wickramaratne said.
“The 23 match League will be played on the four international venues of R Premadasa International Stadium, Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium, Pallekele International Cricket Stadium and Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium. Five teams named after the cities of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna will participate in the League,” SLC had said in a statement.