Thursday, 02 April 2020 08:19

SLC keen to go ahead with SL Premier League – CEO

As the entire world including Sri Lanka battles with overcoming the deadly Corona-19 epidemic, Sri Lanka Cricket are keeping their options open that they will be able to conduct the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) T20 tournament in August with a sprinkle of international stars thrown in for good measure.

In all other countries the Premier League has become a money-spinner and Sri Lanka, one-time winner and two-time runner-up of the World T20 has been one of the main Test playing nations without one. A start was made some time back in August 2012 but after franchises breached payment deadlines the tournament died a natural death.

 


The absence of a regular Premier League has been pointed out as one of the reasons for the national cricket team’s poor performances on the international stage where they face the ignominy of having to qualify for the Super 12 of the ICC 2020 World T20 in Australia in October.

“We have kept basically everyone informed about the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) and called for expression of interest,” Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva told the Daily News.

“There are companies which have shown interest but the issue here is that we cannot close it. We were supposed to close it on Tuesday but we can’t because India is closed now. So we are trying to extend the date till April 15. For that also we sent a resolution yesterday (Tuesday), that the sponsorship and all that will get extended,” he said.

“All the people who will come for the sponsorship are from India, the broadcasting sponsors, the media sponsors, ground sponsors all are from India. For them to even respond they need to also regroup and they cannot reapply for it remotely and send a briefing because these are not small amounts we are talking of.

 


“You need to also give them time to come out with a proposal that is why we are extending the date to April 15 hoping that everything will improve by that time. Even then we don’t know whether we can close it then. We will review the situation on April 15,” De Silva said.

The CEO also revealed that Sri Lanka Cricket has secured with the ICC a window in the international calendar in August-September to hold the SLPL for the next three years.

“When we went to the FTP (Future Tours Program) scheduling meeting we ensured this window was kept open for us to play the SLPL. Sri Lanka won’t be playing any international matches during that time,” said De Silva, a former Sri Lanka Test and ODI wicket-keeper/batsman.

In the event of Sri Lanka being unable to hold the SLPL as scheduled, De Silva said then they would try to fit in some of the international matches that may get postponed due to the current epidemic.

One of them that is likely to get postponed is the tour here by South Africa for 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is in June. There is also the two-Test series against England scheduled to be played in March that was postponed.

“South Africa wouldn’t want to come if we don’t give them enough time to train. If South Africa is to come in June then things should ease off by April 15 or end of April. They need at least about a month to prepare. The way things stand it is very unlikely it will happen,” said De Silva.

“That is why we want to push back the South African tour to July so that we have about three months from now onwards. Those are the scenarios we are looking at, what are the alternate dates and alternate windows that are available to do that,” he said.

“At the moment we are also discussing how to reschedule the England tour and which window we can play that before the Test Championship final in June 2021. We are talking to the ECB and we should be able to finalise it in about another week or two.”

“Until the situation improves not only in Sri Lanka even other countries don’t want anybody to come to them. They have shut down the airports.

“We are also supposed to play the T20 World Cup in Australia in October and the Asia Cup in Dubai. Everything depends whether we will go ahead with it or not. If the situation doesn’t improve then automatically those also might get postponed. It all depends whether the situation will improve,” De Silva added.

SLC MAJOR TOURNAMENT

On the home front SLC is hoping they will be able to complete the SLC Major Tier A and B league tournaments which have entered the final stages.

“We are hoping that we might be able to start it. It would take about five weeks for us to finish the tournament. Even if you play in July by mid-August we can finish it. We don’t want to cancel it we will play the domestic tournament,” De Silva said. Since the current curfew came into effect in the second week of March the SLC headquarters at Maitland Place has remained closed and all meetings amongst the office-bearers have taken place via telephone conversation and emails.

“If we take a decision we keep the ExCo members informed because we are all supposed to work from home. All the members are working from home and nobody is allowed to come to office. Even the physical meeting of face to face we don’t want to have because of the current situation,” said De Silva.

“We are all in touch over the phone and whatever decisions are made it is notified to the respective people by email. There are head of pillars we discuss with the pillars what we should do and once the pillar takes a decision we convey that to the members. When it comes to finance it is the treasurer, when it comes to the district we have a vice president and so on. Once a decision is made we inform the secretary and keep the other members notified, that’s how we are operating at the moment,” he said.

(Daily News)

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