The new 2021-22 domestic cricket season will commence with the Major Limited-Over Tournament on 5 September
- All 26 clubs to play in two groups
- New 5-team Super League to round-off season
- Domestic calendar for next 3 years
By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
SLC Tournament Committee Chairman Samantha Dodanwela
Sri Lanka’s 2021-22 domestic cricket season is set to kick-off with the Major Limited-Over Inter-Club tournament on 5 September and the Major League Inter-Club tournament from 10 September. Both tournaments will be run concurrently to each other and are due to be completed by the end of December.
All 26 clubs will play in the League tournament in two groups of 13 teams each at the end of which the leader of each group will qualify to play in a 4-day final. In previous years, the 26 clubs played in two different Tiers – Tier A comprised 14 clubs and Tier B consisted of 12 clubs.
However, on this occasion Samantha Dodanwela the new Tournament Committee chairman said players from all 26 clubs will be given the opportunity to perform and get selected to play in the Super League that will follow the Major League.
He said the reason for playing the 26 clubs in two groups was to give more opportunities to the players. A club will play 12 matches in the League and the players who get selected for the Super League will be able to extend the number of matches further. Colombo CC won the Major League title last season, and NCC the Major Limited-Overs.
The format of the Limited-Over which also feature all 26 clubs has yet to be decided whether it will be conducted in two or four groups. In the event of two groups the top two teams from each group will go into the semi-finals or if it is run in four groups the group leaders of each of the four groups will qualify to play in the semi-finals.
Following the completion of the Major League Inter-Club the top performers in the tournament will be picked by the national selection committee to form five teams that will play in a Super League Tournament which will run from end of January to mid-April after which the 2021-22 domestic season will end. The Super League according to Dodanwela is something akin to the Provincial tournament that has had many fits and starts over the years.
“This is the start of a new calendar and it will be there for the next three years or so. It’s immaterial who comes into the administration, a structure has to be in place for years and years. People just come and go and they change it and it’s a mess for everyone,” said Dondanwela, who has undertaken the task of framing a domestic cricket calendar that could remain a permanent fixture for the future.
“Once I do it, I will make sure it goes to the Sports Minister or his Secretary and ensure it is all documented and become the structure for the future. I have consulted the Technical and Advisory Committee which comprises players who have played the game at the highest level. I’ve had about six to seven meetings with them on zoom and with all their support and my inputs we have got a structure together for the betterment of Sri Lanka cricket that should be there for the future,” he said.
“There’s a lot of franchise cricket going all over and the players, to be fair to them can also plan their future commitments. Once a calendar is put out they will know how to adjust accordingly,” he added.
Dondanwela, a former Trinity College and SSC cricketer, said that the SLC ExCo had unanimously agreed to his proposal and that he would shortly call up an EGM to inform the stakeholders of the new structure which SLC is going to have for the next three years or so and also officially announce the dates and the tournaments.
Dodanwela served in the SLC ExCo from 2016-18 as a Controlling Club representative and at present is the Immediate Past President of SSC’s Cricket Committee having functioned as its chairman for 10 years from 2010-20.