By A Special Correspondent
COLOMBO – Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy and Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota will host all 23 matches to be played in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2020. The League is scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 13, 2020 and the Players Draft is scheduled to be held on October 19.
The much-awaited LPL, a franchised based T20 league organized by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was originally scheduled to be played in August and postponed to November 14 to December 16 before being rescheduled again. Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium was also slated as a venue earlier.
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, which has hosted seven Tests, 26 ODIs and 23 T20 Internationals has a spectator capacity of 35,000. The Suriyaweva Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, also with a spectator capacity of 35,000, has hosted 21 ODIs and seven T20 Internationals.
The last T20 match played at the Pallekele was between West Indies and Sri Lanka on March 6 where the visitors triumphed by seven wickets in the day-night encounter.
The last T20 encounter at the Suryaweva Stadium was played on August 6, 2013 when host Sri Lanka got the better of the visiting South African side by six wickets in another day-night encounter.
SLC signed up with the Dubai-based Innovative Production Group (IPG) to manage and conduct the tournament. IPG was offered rights for licensing of franchises, broadcasting, production and ground rights of the event.
In the Lanka Premier League, five franchisee teams, named after Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna, will compete in 23 matches over a 15-day period for the title.
Along with all key current international players from Sri Lanka, 75 foreign players will be in the Players Draft to be picked by the five franchisees.
“LPL gives us an opportunity to provide the cricket-loving nation a T20 extravaganza to look forward to. Sri Lankan cricket fans are extremely passionate about the game, and it gives me tremendous joy and happiness that IPG got the mandate to conduct the League here. The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) too has been extremely helpful and I look forward for their unending co-operation and support to make this League a grand success. We are committed to create a world class league with LPL,” said Anil Mohan, CEO of IPG.
“The tournament will not only create a platform for local players to develop their skills by playing alongside world class players, but will also provide an opportunity for Sri Lankan cricket fans to watch a quality cricket tournament,” said SLC vice-president Ravin Wickramaratne.