Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) membership during an Extraordinary General Meeting held on 28th August, 2021 unanimously ratified the new Domestic Tournament Structure.
The new structure was designed by the Tournament Committee of the Sri Lanka Cricket headed by Samantha Dodanwela in consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee led by Aravinda De Silva.
The new structure will come into effect from the upcoming 2021/2022 season with SLC deciding to scrap the existing ‘Tier A’ & ‘Tier B’ competitions for the clubs. Currently, there are 14 teams in ‘Tier A’ and 12 teams in ‘Tier B’. Up until now, three-day matches were played separately, while the limited-overs formats were played together.
In the new structure, all the 26 teams currently with first-class status will be divided into two groups of 13 teams and will play three-day cricket in the Major Clubs League Tournament and 50-over cricket in the Major Clubs Limited Overs Tournament concurrently as soon as the clearance is received from the Ministry of Health due to the current situation in the country. Each team will play 12 three-day matches and 12 limited-overs games.
The lowest ranked two teams from each group in the Major Clubs League Tournament will be relegated to the Governor’s Trophy competition from next season. The top ranked teams from each group will be playing in a one-off four-day Final to determine the domestic cricket champions. In the Major Limited Overs Tournament, the top two ranked teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.
SLC Tournament Committee is hoping to finish off the two tournaments by January 2022 before commencing the all-important National Super League with the participation of 5 teams – Colombo, Kandy, Dambulla, Galle and Jaffna. This will be the highest standard of domestic cricket in the country.
The players will be selected for the National Super League upon their performances in the Inter-Club competitions. The National Super League will be played as four-day first-class matches and 50-over matches in January, February and March.
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Due to the postponement of the Lankan Premier League 2021 to December and the current pandemic situation, there will be no Major Clubs T20 Tournament this season.
“We hope this structure will remain for the next 10 years at least.” SLC Tournament Committee Chairman Samantha Dodanwela told ThePapare exclusively. “With this structure, we give an equal opportunity for the existing first-class teams to fight it out to save their first-class status.”
In the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 seasons, the same structure will be followed and by 2024, the number of first-class teams will be reduced to 15. After the 2023/24 competition, only 3 teams will be relegated to the Governor’s Trophy.
While the 5-team National Super League is in progress early next year, there will be another SLC Emerging Tournament played simultaneously with the participation of the 22 teams (4 relegated teams will not be considered). During the SLC Emerging Tournament, the clubs are permitted to field nine under 23 players and two overage players (above 23 year olds) in their playing XIs.