Arthur lauds LPL as national prepares for South Africa tour


By A Special Correspondent

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka’s head coach Mickey Arthur has given his nod of approval for the inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL) even though the national team will be grossly under-prepared when they tour South Africa next month.

The LPL 2020 organized by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to finally take place from November 26 to December 16 in a bio-secure environment with all matches taking place at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota.

SLC was apprehensive of delaying the LPL because the national team had to embark on a tour of South Africa on December 17 with some officials claiming the national team was “under-prepared” for the two-match Test series.

It is Sri Lanka’s first international assignment since hosting the West Indies in February. The first match will commence on Boxing Day at Super Sport Park in Centurion followed by the second Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on January 3. Sri Lanka’s preparations will be hampered with most of the players featuring in the LPL.

The tournament appeared to be a non-starter a week ago with the government having yet to give their green-light as the country was faced with an unprecedented upsurge in COVID-19 cases. However, following discussions the SLC had with Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa and the health authorities, it was agreed to play all 23 matches in Hambantota and the tournament scheduled revised yet again.

“I think the LPL is a very good initiative by SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket) and one that I think will bear fruit in the future by fast-tracking young players’ development,” said Arthur in an interview with SLC media.

“There are many ways it enhances our player development with the most important one being teaching players how to perform under pressure as this is an art that comes with experience, the LPL will provide them with that opportunity,” said the former Pakistan coach who guided Karachi Kings in the Pakistan Super League.

“I have seen in leagues that I have been involved with around the world how the players grow because of the excitement of the pressures and expectations, the interaction with overseas players and coaches, and being around a professional environment,” he said.

Asked how young players benefit out of this tournament, he said: “As I have mentioned before young players grow because of the fact that they are mixing with overseas players and Sri Lanka’s best players and can watch, observe and learn as to how they go about their preparation and match day planning.”

Arthur felt franchise tournaments like LPL would help shape Sri Lanka’s T20 strategy.

“I am very clear on how we want our players to play and who the right players are based on world trends and the brand of cricket that we want to play. However, franchise tournaments always throw up some new names and this is a wonderful opportunity for players to put their names up for selection,” he said.

Always on the look for new talent, Arthur was aware of the gulf in standards when it comes to international cricket.

“I am always on the lookout for young, fresh talent that is just crying out for opportunity, provided they fit the criteria into what we are looking for and if I think they can provide match-winning performances of international cricket standards, then I will take a good hard look at them. One must be cautious though, as there is still a gulf between international cricket and franchise tournaments,” he said.

Arthur was energized by the return of international cricket for the national team.

“The most pleasing aspect for me is the fact that our players are going to be out there playing competitive cricket again as it has been a long frustrating time for all of us. Any number of net sessions and training can never replicate tough hard competitive cricket and that is what our players are going to get before some very tough international cricket coming up,” he said.

SLC announced it will conduct a training camp at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium from November 13 focusing on the national team’s tour of South Africa.

Twenty-two players will take part in the 10-day training camp, which will be conducted under a ‘Bio-Secure Environment’.

Once the training camp is over, the players participating in the LPL will leave directly to Hambantota, whilst the rest will return to Colombo on November 22.

Meanwhile, a high-profile commentary panel will be in action to help broadcast the LPL action live across the world.

The six-member panel includes Mike Haysman of Australia, Roshan Abeysinghe and Russel Arnold of Sri Lanka, Aamer Sohail of Pakistan, Hershelle Gibs of South Africa, and Darren Ganga of West Indies.

The revised LPL 2020 schedule

November 26

3:30 p.m

7:30 p.m.


Opening Ceremony

Colombo vs Kandy

November 27

8:00 p.m.


Jaffna vs Galle

November 28

3:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m.


Kandy vs Dambulla

Galle vs Colombo

November 30

3:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m.


 Dambulla vs Jaffna

Kandy vs Galle

December 1

3:30 p.m.

7:30 p.m.


Colombo vs Dambulla

Jaffna vs Kandy

December 3

3: 30p.m.

7: 30p.m.


Galle vs Jaffna

Dambulla vs Kandy

December 4

8: 00 p.m.


Colombo vs Jaffna

December 5

3: 30 p.m.

7: 30 p.m.


Dambulla vs Galle

Kandy vs Colombo

December 7

3:30 p.m.

7: 30 p.m.


Colombo vs Galle

Jaffna vs Dambulla

 December 9

3: 30 p.m.

7: 30 p.m.


Kandy vs Jaffna

Galle vs Dambulla

December 10

3:30 p.m.

7: 30 p.m.


Jaffna vs Colombo

Galle vs Kandy

 December 11

7:30 p.m.


Dambulla vs Colombo

 December 13

7:30 p.m.


Semi Final 1

 December 14

7:30 p.m.


Semi Final 2

 December 16

7:30 p.m.







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