Sri Lanka Cricket is optimistic about the chances of launching the Lanka Premier League in August, despite the Sri Lankan government pushing back the August 1 reopening of the country's main airport in Katunayake.
Sri Lanka's sports ministry last week gave a go-ahead for the tournament, which has been scheduled from August 8 to 22.
"We're hoping to speak to His Excellency [President Gotabaya Rajapaksa] and see if we can come to a decision. Sri Lanka has done very well in containing the coronavirus as opposed to other countries in the region, and as such we have had a lot of interest from foreign players in taking part in the tournament,” SLC CEO Ashley de Silva told ESPNCricinfo.
SLC is still accepting tenders regarding franchise ownerships, as five teams are set to take part in the Lanka Premier League or LPL. Players will be selected through an auction process similar to the one popularised by the Indian Premier League, with each team allowed a maximum of six foreign players in a squad and four in the playing XI.
The tournament will be played in either double or single round-robin format, followed by semi-finals and final.
The length of the tournament depends on two things- when Sri Lanka opens its borders for international travel and when SLC comes to an agreement with BCCI on a tour that is supposed to happen in August. If the BCCI agrees, the tour would likely take place following the LPL, which in turn would shorten the tournament, explained de Silva.
"At the moment we're looking at 23 games, but if India agrees to play then it will most probably come down to 13,” De Silva said.
SLC finances will receive a massive boost if India agrees to tour. Their coffers have taken a big hit due to COVID-19 as England and Bangladesh pulled out of their scheduled tours.
In terms of health and safety measures, any tour or tournament will see a significant reduction in crowds, with SLC planning to allow only up to 20% of stadium capacity, though the finer details are still to be ironed out.