Sri Lanka Cricket eyeing IPL-style T20 league from 2018
Reportedly, BCCI may allow prominent Indian players to participate in the proposed tournament.
What's the story?
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the governing body of the sport in the island nation, have begun plans for launching a new franchise-based Twenty20 league in 2018. Slated to be modelled on the highly popular Indian Premier League (IPL), the proposed tournament will derive financially from the upcoming Nidahas T20I tri-series.
In a media briefing at Colombo, SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala revealed, "We believe we have the best package, we've got the best formula, we've got the best position to present the next Lankan premier league. The Nidahas Trophy is going to give us that platform, the The Nidahas Trophy is going to give us the place where we have never ever seen our country's cricket being positioned in the global market."
He added, "In this region, we are the only country that is not playing a franchise-based tournament. We will go to the market and we will find who are the parties that are interested. We are keen to not to repeat the mistakes of the past. We have to make sure that genuine sponsors are coming through. We have to be transparent as this will be a product owned by SLC."
In case you didn't know...
Close on the heels of the IPL and the Big Bash League (BBL), SLC had launched the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL) in May 2011. The first season of the tournament took place in 2012. However, the league was cancelled in 2013 and then 2014 due to financial issues.
The heart of the matter
Incidentally, the first edition of the SLPL had been touted to take place in 2011 itself. 12 Indian players were among the overseas contingent roped in by SLC. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) refused to release their contracted players for the league. The Indian board's stance on the matter did not change in 2012.
In order to protect the brand identity of IPL as well as monitor the workloads of their contracted cricketers, BCCI have not permitted any Indian player to feature in overseas T20 league. However, if reports are to be believed, they have arrived at an understanding with SLC regarding the participation of prominent Indian players in the proposed IPL-style league in Sri Lanka.
SLC are banking on the upcoming Nidahas Trophy to showcase their viability on hosting a multi-nation tournament. Apart from hosts Sri Lanka, the T20I tri-series will also feature India and Bangladesh. The tournament is scheduled to take place between March 6 and 18 at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
The proposed T20 league is slated to be organised around September and is likely to involve five or six franchises.
While it remains unclear if the propounded Twenty20 tournament is a revamp of the SLPL or a fresh initiative altogether, SLC will be hoping that the plans gains fruition in the coming months. It is high time that the board presents a platform for emerging Sri Lankan players to rub shoulders with high-profile senior stars from the region as well as abroad.