Sri Lanka news February 27, 2014

SLPL scrapped once again

The Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) has been scrapped in favour of a short domestic Twenty20 tournament for the second consecutive year, after SLC failed to attract meaningful commercial interest in the tournament. The SLPL has failed to materialise in three of the four years since it had been announced, crashing most dramatically in 2013, when each franchise was terminated after failing to pay the participation fee three weeks before the tournament was scheduled to begin.

After that cancellation, SLC had hoped to draw up a more lucrative business model alongside Hong Kong-based commercial partner Somerset Entertainment Ventures (SEV), but despite several meetings that goal remains unrealised. 

"Since terminating the contracts of seven franchise owners we have tried to revive the tournament, but there has been no response from the promotions partner," SLPL director Ajit Jayasekara told Ceylon Today. "Beside there's no window left due to South Africa's visit in July and Sri Lanka A team's tour of England later that month."

Last year's SLPL had been replaced by a week-long Super Fours tournament, which produced the Kandurata Maroons team that played in the Champions League. "We are in the process of organising the Super Fours on a grand scale this year," Jayasekara said. "Obviously there will not be any foreign players, but we will have all local stars - the national team and the A team players in action. It can be a short tournament - we can finish it in about six to eight days."

South Africa this week confirmed a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in July this year, and the Sri Lanka A team is expected to leave for a tour of England and Ireland shortly after that tour ends. While the A team tour had been in the works for some time, South Africa's revised Test tour is believed to have been advanced to 2014, only after it had become clear the SLPL would not materialise this year.

Jayasekara said a third cancellation did not necessarily sound a death-knell for the SLPL concept. "We have to go through a fresh process - getting advertisers and getting people to apply for franchises. That is a time-consuming thing. We're hoping SEV will come up with a plan - maybe for a scaled down version - and try to revive the SLPL."

The only SLPL tournament that did materialise, in 2012, had been a mild cricketing success, but it had been poorly supported and had failed to convince franchise owners that they would eventually break even in subsequent years. At least one franchise owner had also seemingly corrupt intentions, having told an SLPL captain that franchises could only make money from the tournament if spot fixing occurred. The player immediately relayed this to the ICC's anti-corruption unit.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nilantha on March 2, 2014, 17:42 GMT

    fantastic news..waste of time...

  • GAYAN on March 1, 2014, 4:46 GMT

    Stop this crazy Tournament and think differently as we are not typical sub Continent Cricket Playing Nation .. We are difference from IND PAK BD ... we are more like a professional team like AUS SA NZ and Better we start the tournament with Inter School where our cricket is base,.. You may find next arjuna/mahanam/Mahela/Aravinda/ Sang /Jayasuriya/murali etc...

    Change your Think Tank SLC (U may supported by Local trade community and Tv chanel like CSN MTV C EYE.. )Think about our limitation...

  • Dhushan on February 27, 2014, 20:04 GMT

    @Syam Raj: People in SL CAN relate to cricket. Everyone in SL knows what it means. Yes, cricket is not a religion in SL, it's a lifestyle. We grow up with it. Yes, we support our national team, whether they win or lose, because that's what real fans do. They stand by their team through thick & thin, & we don't burn down players houses like. SLPL might never happen again, but the love for the sport among SL people will not cease. Do you live in SL to comment about these things? I do, & I know. I would request you to refrain from commenting on such matters, if you don't live in SL.

  • Chatty on February 27, 2014, 18:44 GMT

    Great news. We don't need yet another useless T20 tournament. Besides, I have no affiliation or loyalty to any clubs and these matches mean absolutely nothing to me. My loyalty is to the country. I think most Sri Lankans are like that and that is why I think a local tournament will never be a success.

  • Jay on February 27, 2014, 16:46 GMT

    Disappointing ! No other words.

  • Tony on February 27, 2014, 13:01 GMT

    Before anything else fix our first class competition! Sure SLPL can be a huge revenue raiser but to put it quite simply, our first class cricket is like grade cricket in Australia. Increase it to 4 day cricket so players that make the transition are not stiff especially since the mentality is a lot different in 3 day cricket. We're a small country now but since the war finished and the economy is improving quite rapidly we should probably focus on exposing the talent that we have here on the island until companies start knocking on SLC's door.

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2014, 11:38 GMT

    The SLPL's main purpose had been to discover new talents. And it had worked, although it had been discarded. Remember Akila Dananjaya? The guy who came in without a single list A or first class gane to his name. Fast-tracked to the national side immediately to the t20wc after ending up as one of the leading wickettakers. But why Jayasuriya dropped him from the side, to me, that remains a mystery...

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2014, 10:25 GMT

    @syam raj: so what are you trying to prove here?We Sri Lankans are not that much mentally weakened to burn houses of cricketers because of a defeat.We criticize them and wish for a stronger come back. Team Names Does not show the mentality.Its the way you are talking shows your ignorance.Uva,Ruhuna,Wayamba,Uthura... are parts of the country.There is no rule to have names that all the world can understand.Comparing India with sri lanka does not make any sense either.Organizing SLPL is not to challenge India.It is to sharpen local guys and entertain the crowd.I wish all the best for SLC to organize a successful SLPL in near future.

  • Dummy4 on February 27, 2014, 9:50 GMT

    Ajit Jayasekara is very that SLPL will start next year. Just because other countries were able to successfully have its own T20 cricket doesnt mean Sri Lanka can do the same. First of all, Ajit Jayasekara forgot to understand the Sri lankan mentality. Ruhuna Ryls, Uva Next n all these, people cant even relate. No one knows wat it means. N cricket is not a religion in Sri Lanka. People support the national team, whether it wins or losses. no cricketers house is broken for loosing a match here. Over here, people dont take cricket seriously, its just entertainment. n Sri Lanka has just 20 million population n india has 1.2 billion, sri lanka gdp 59,421 where as indians 1,875,213. (32 times smaller).

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