SLC Inter-Provincial tournament to miss star power
The longer version of Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) three provincial tournaments - the four-day matches - commences on Thursday but will feature none of the key national players, who are doing duty in the ongoing IPL. The first-class tournament will not only be missing some glamour but will be without a sixth team - the SLC Combined XI, comprising mainly schoolboy cricketers who got good exposure playing along with the established stars in the Provincial Twenty20 and limited-overs tournaments.
Chandima Mapatuna, the manager for the SLC tournaments, said the junior cricketers were given the due exposure at the concluded provincial limited-overs and Twenty20 tournaments and that there was no necessity to expose them further in the longer game.
"This decision was made clear even before the commencement of the 2009-10 Inter-Provincial tournament," said Mapatuna. "We allowed the juniors to play in the shorter versions of the game and there is no reason to continue them in the four-day tournament as schoolboys are not playing anything beyond two-day cricket.
"There are cases like the Royal-Thomian three-day encounter. Even tournaments conducted by SLC such as the Sara Trophy, Donovan Andree Trophy and the Under-23 Premier are two-day encounters. For the four-day game the youngsters are still not mature enough.
"We advised the team officials of SLC Combined XI to note down potential players who can be useful in the four-day format. They identified five players whom they think will fit into the longer version of the game."
The five players were Chathura Peiris, the Sri Lanka Under-19 World Cup and St Peter's College captain, Rumesh Buddhika, the Mahinda College allrounder, Ananda College batsman Geshan Wimaladharma, who will turn out for Wayamba, Hans Fernando who led the SLC Combined XI for Ruhuna, Royal College captain Bhanuka Rajapaksa for Kandurata and DS Senanayake College captain Charith Jayampathi for Basnahira South.
The five teams will play each other in a league format with the top two teams qualifying for the final to be played from May 13-16 at the Pallekelle Stadium in Kandy. Kandurata won the limited-overs tournament and Wayamba retained their Twenty20 crown in the recently-concluded tournaments this year.
The five provinces competing are Wayamba, Ruhuna, Basnahira Sourth, Basnahira North and Kandurata.