Sri Lanka Cricket believes it has had a breakthrough in talks over the Lankan Premier League (LPL), and is now more confident the tournament can go ahead in some form.
Much of the uncertainty over the tournament had been about the 14-day quarantine that incoming players would be required to undergo when they arrived on the island. But tournament director Ravin Wickramaratne said that in a meeting on Wednesday, health authorities indicated they were willing to be flexible in order to allow the tournament to go ahead. No concrete assurances have been given yet, but there is to be a further meeting – this one involving the country’s president as well as health authorities and cricket board officials – on Thursday, when many of these details are expected to be finalised.
“Our meeting with the health minister and authorities today was very, very fruitful,” Wickramaratne told ESPNcricinfo. “The authorities were willing to consider our position and requirements, and said they would discuss the quarantine protocols internally and get back to us.”
According to Wickramaratne, the likeliest plan for the tournament now involves playing the whole thing at one venue – in Sooriyawewa. As there is an international airport nearby, SLC is looking at the option of chartering a flight from Dubai directly to that airport in Mattala, which would make the setting up and maintaining of a biosecure bubble more straightforward than if the tournament had been played in two venues, as had been the previous plan.
There is also the chance the dates could change slightly, and that the schedule may also contract, given the demands on this single venue. Many of these details will only be firmed up after Thursday’s meeting with the president.
At present the LPL is set to be played from November 21 to December 13.
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