SLC seek change in Caribbean Premier League schedule
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has asked the West Indies Cricket Board to reschedule the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL), in order to avoid a scheduling clash with the Sri Lanka Premier League, SLPL director Ajit Jayasekara has said. The CPL is scheduled between July 29 and August 26, while the SLPL is penciled in for an August 10 start. SLC cannot postpone their tournament because the Champions League T20, which will feature SLPL winners in the qualifying stage, begins in mid-September.
"There is quite a big overlap there, and because we announced our tournament last year and have set that window aside, we have asked the Caribbean Premier League tournament to move their tournament up," Jayasekara said. "Those discussions haven't started yet, but we are hopeful we can work something out."
The scheduling clash was brought into focus this week after former Sri Lankan offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan signed with the CPL. Muralitharan said he has not yet decided which tournament he will prioritise. In addition to being one of the SLPL's biggest draws, Muralitharan was also the icon player for his Uthura Rudra's franchise in the inaugural tournament last year. However, as one of only six international signings, he is a major asset to the CPL as well.
Chris Gayle also has an SLPL deal for the next two years, but his contract with the Uva Next franchise is fitted with an escape clause, and he is almost certain to forego the SLPL to play in his home board's Twenty20 tournament. In addition to player unavailability, the presence of a competing Twenty20 league undermines SLPL's global broadcast value as well.
Jayasekara said SLPL's organisers were in discussions with several new foreign players, and will be announcing new signings in the months to come. Last year's tournament was played at only two venues - Colombo and Kandy - but the 2013 tournament is likely include more venues, Jayasekara said.
"We only had one production crew last time, but we have two this year, so that gives us more options. We are looking at Hambantota, Galle, Moratuwa and Dambulla as venues as well."
The Uva Next franchise won 2012's SLPL but was unable to move ahead of the qualifying stage of the Champions League T20 in South Africa. The tournament itself was mired in a series of controversies, including late player payments, but turned a minor profit for SLC.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here