The 2021 season of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) has been postponed, A formal announcement from Sri Lanka Cricket is expected soon. The second edition of the T20 tournament, scheduled to be held at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in Hambantota from July 30 to August 22, could now be held in November-December although the organisers have multiple obstacles to cross before that.
The immediate reason attributed for the postponement is the absence of foreign players but there are quite a few other issues plaguing the joint venture of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Dubai-based Innovative Production Group FZE (IPG), the rights holders of the LPL.
As of Friday (July 9), the LPL is without three of the five franchises that competed in the inaugural season last year. As first reported by Cricbuzz, SLC and IPG have terminated the contracts of three teams — Colombo Kings and Dambulla Viiking on June 26 and Jaffna Stallions — and the approval for the new managements has not yet been received. Sources have confirmed to Cricbuzz that KYCs of the three new managements are still awaiting clearance from the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The biggest issue of all is the standoff between the SLC and Sri Lankan players. The players, who have been at loggerheads with the board over central contracts, have agreed to keep aside their protests only for the India series, starting in Colombo on July 13.
“It (the postponement) is not about the participation of the foreign players alone. There is an element of uncertainty over the Lankan players too. So we have thought the postponement was the best solution at this stage,” said an official involved in the league. “Besides, there are also issues over the pandemic situation in the island.”
Reports have suggested that the decision was taken in consultation with Namal Rajapaksa, the Sports Minister of Lanka on whose support, the LPL could be launched last year. Rajapaksa and SLC have not responded to messages from Cricbuzz on the postponement.
Source – Cricbuzz