Shattered ‘window’ forces Sri Lanka scale down T20 | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Shattered ‘window’ forces Sri Lanka scale down T20

Captains all. From left: Thisara Perera (Dambulla), Angelo Mathews (Kandy), Suranga Lakmal (Galle) and Dinesh Chandimal (Colombo) pose with the lesser SLC T20 trophy they’ll play for
Captains all. From left: Thisara Perera (Dambulla), Angelo Mathews (Kandy), Suranga Lakmal (Galle) and Dinesh Chandimal (Colombo) pose with the lesser SLC T20 trophy they’ll play for

Politics, jealousy, back-stabbing, legal wrangling shuts out a people’s format :

Suppressed from conducting a T20 tournament that was to be called the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) with international players, Sri Lanka Cricket is now fighting back-to-the-wall spending around Rs. 80 million without returns on a 14-day domestic event to keep afloat both junior and senior pros in the run-up to a heavy international schedule.

The SLPL was secured through what is called a “window”, meaning the availability of most overseas players. It was authorized by the International Cricket Council (ICC) but usurped or upstaged by the establishment of a despised Interim Committee in place of a democratically elected administration.

The non-existence of elected officials effectively threw out a high-powered backstage team which was in the process of securing lucrative corporate deals from commercial partners who then backed out without a credible Sri Lanka Cricket hierarchy to hold accountable.

Now the replacement or drastically scaled down SLCT20 will only have Sri Lankan pros along with fringe players minus international stars and commence on August 21 to end on September 2 with the players falling into four groups called Colombo, Kandy, Galle and Dambulla captained by Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, SurangaLakmal and Thisara Perera respectively. As many as 84 players, possibly a dubious world record, have been named in the four squads for just 12 matches.

“We began planning (for the SLPL) a year ago and secured a window for an international T20 League in Sri Lanka with the approval of the ICC. What we now have here are alternate arrangements to replace the SLPL”, said Sri Lanka Cricket’s veteran CEO Ashley de Silva. But de Silva also said the local players taking part will not be treated differently and be provided with five-star hotel accommodation and transport, match fees and prize money ensuring the event will have its desired result of giving several youngsters a chance to play alongside the seniors creating an international atmosphere.

The SLPL was initially planned to run for a five-year period and extendable depending on its success which Sri Lanka Cricket officials at the time said was possible in view of corporate and stakeholder interest.

According to independent analysts the demise of the SLPL even before its birth reflects the outcome of personal squabbles under the pretext of public concerns. The four teams in the SLC T20 will play one another twice before the top two teams clash in the final on September 2, a night match at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Roy Dias, probably the most elegant player Sri Lanka produced, will be the coach of the Galle team that has players in the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha and Dushmantha Chameera besides skipper Suranga Lakmal.

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