Possibility of LPL being postponed

Monday, 2 November 2020 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • SLC sweat on health clearance as Health Ministry drags its feet

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva
SLC CEO Ashley de Silva
LPL Tournament Director Ravin Wickramaratne

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) are keeping their fingers crossed as they have not received the health clearance from the Ministry of Health to go ahead with the Lanka Premier League (LPL).

The LPL is due to commence only on 21 November, but the deadline for commencing the 14-day quarantine period is from 4 November for players arriving from overseas.

“We are a little worried about this LPL, as the health authorities have not still granted us the permission,” said SLC secretary Mohan de Silva.

“Monday (today) would be the latest, otherwise we may have to postpone it. Postponement means a lot of extra cost and player availability will become a question again, as they will have other commitments if the dates are changed,” he said.

“In fact, we had a number of discussions with the health authorities before writing to them for permission. The cricket will take place only in Hambantota and Pallekele, where the players will go into a

bio-bubble. They will travel from Mattala airport to their hotel and from their hotel to the ground and back again. All this has been planned and discussed earlier with the authorities, including the security, army and health. Most of the players taking part in the IPL are coming from bubble to bubble,” de Silva added.

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva said, “We have decided on the dates and we have sought health clearance. We have written to the health authorities and are waiting for their response. Hopefully, we should get it on Monday (today).”

LPL Tournament Director Ravin Wickramaratne said that 178 names were submitted last week to the Health Ministry for their approval and that included the production crew, commentators and players, but so far, they haven’t received anything.

“We addressed the letter to the Director-General of the Ministry of Health. They said they will have to consult the COVID Task Force; one person said that they will have to go to the President. We are waiting

to meet the Sports Minister and get a directive,” he said.

Speaking further Wickramaratne said, “Before 4 November all the players have to be in Sri Lanka, otherwise we have no option but to put back the tournament at least by one week. Then we might have to check players’ availability again, but it is only seven days that we will have to postpone.”

A total of 30 overseas players are due to participate along with the Sri Lankan players during the 15-day tournament, which is scheduled to run from 21 November to 14 December.

“When we started this dialogue with the Health Ministry about three months back, what they were saying was ‘okay, fine we can consider after 7 days the players can practice and all that. Now they are not sticking to their word, every meeting they are changing their views. New people are coming for every meeting,” pointed out Wickramaratne. 

“Anil Jasinghe was very positive, then he was replaced and someone else took over, then another. They are changing their chairs and each of them has their own opinion. They are negative, no one is taking the responsibility. Even when we ask, they are not taking the responsibility, but are passing the ball to each person. We don’t know when we will get the approval. We are waiting,” he said.

Four of the five participating teams had to pick two overseas players by 1 November, but Wickramaratne said, “We thought of being flexible, because with this situation we are actually uncertain whether we can play or not. Even in the last moment we will allow the players to come and play, once he is registered.”


Irfan Pathan joins Kandy Tuskers in LPL