Sri Lanka Cricket hopes to revive the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) – or a similar showpiece T20 tournament – by the end of 2019.
The board has not begun planning the event yet, but according to the latest version of the FTP, it has taken the preliminary step of blocking out a three-week slot in August and September 2019. This will give SLC the option of hosting such a tournament, should an array of other factors – a broadcast deal included – come together.
“We have talked about having a tournament like SLPL, but there is nothing concrete yet,” SLC vice president K Mathivanan said. “It’s something we are looking at because in addition to giving our players a lot of exposure in T20, it can also help our finances. But we are just speculating at the moment.”
The challenges that hosting a profit-making T20 tournament entail will not be lost on the board. The SLPL concept has already failed under a previous administration, which held a poorly-received tournament in 2012. That tournament was also beset by fixing rumours – Lasith Malinga having reported a suspicious approach at the time.
The following year’s iteration of the SLPL was cancelled weeks before it was due to be played, and no similar tournament has been organised since.
Among the particular difficulties SLC may face if it schedules a T20 tournament in August and September 2019 is attracting foreign talent. Not only are England and Australia set to be playing each other during that time, the Caribbean Premier League is also scheduled for those months.