By Madushka Balasuriya
After being given the go-ahead by health authorities, the Lankan Premier League (LPL) will now get underway on 27 November, it has been announced, with the final set to take place on 17 December. All the matches meanwhile will be played at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Sooriyawewa.
“Holding of the tournament in Hambantota and in one venue, enhances our plan of setting up and maintaining an effective Bio-Secure Bubble, and with the approval coming from the government, we are now confident of going ahead with the tournament,’’ said Vice President Sri Lanka Cricket and the Tournament Director of the LPL Ravin Wickramaratne, in a media release.
The latest shift in start date is the fourth such postponement, though it’s now looking increasingly likely to be the last. Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa confirmed the news on social media website Twitter last afternoon, confirming that the COVID taskforce had “given the green-light” to go ahead with the tournament. It is understood that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was also present at yesterday’s meeting between SLC and health authorities. Prior to the latest meeting, the sticking point had been the required 14-day quarantine foreign players would have to undergo upon arriving in Sri Lanka. It is understood that this has now been adjusted to seven, after which the players can join the training bubble setup by SLC.
While the full tournament schedule is expected to be released in the coming days, the change in venue from two to one is not expected to impact on the number of matches being played, with all 23 matches set to take place as planned.