Sri Lanka news May 10, 2011

SLPL to add two more provinces later

ESPNcricinfo staff

Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga has said two more provinces will be added to the Sri Lanka Premier League after the first few seasons. Seven provinces will be a part of the first tournament, with the Rajarata and Sabaragamuwa provinces the only ones of Sri Lanka's nine not to have a team. Ranatunga said their exclusion would not last long.

"We merely wanted to limit the number of teams to ensure competitiveness," he told the Daily Mirror. "So far, we have had only five teams in our domestic provincial tournaments. We added North (Uthura) and East (Negenahira) for this first tournament, and as we progress with it in the next few seasons, we will add the other two provinces as well."

The first edition of the SLPL, which will be played over 18 days starting at the end of July this year, will see all its matches played at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo; this despite Sri Lanka having built two new stadiums, in Pallekele and Hambantota, for the recently concluded World Cup. Ranatunga explained logistical reasons meant only one stadium could be used for the tournament.

"We had to finish everything within two or three weeks. The logistics of playing the matches at various venues are too cumbersome. The players would also be tired if they have to travel heavily within a short period. So we had no option but to limit the tournament to Colombo."

Unlike the IPL and the new format of the Big Bash League in Australia, the SLPL will not feature city-based teams. Ranatunga said having provincial teams would allow an entire province to associate themselves with a team and thus create a bigger following for the tournament.

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