By Srian Obeyesekere
Sri Lanka Cricket’s Secretary, Mohan de Silva, addressing the media at the Jaic Hilton Hotel on Tuesday to announce the historic staging of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) on Thursday November 26, said that this path breaking mega 20-20 tournament was about to become a reality having had to overcome several obstacles from time to time including the second wave of the COVID 19 pandemic, thanks to the untiring efforts of the SLC President Shammi de Silva.
Delivering the welcome address, Mohan de Silva, who has been a longstanding driving force of the county’s cricketing think tank at the game’s nerve center situated at Maitland Place, Colombo-7, held center stage on this landmark occasion in announcing what is roundly viewed by the local cricketing think tanks and the world stage as ‘the’ turning point or new chapter in the furtherance of Sri Lankan cricket to the next level. In effect, the LPL would be the groove to nurturing young latent talent to the broader perspective of graduating to top fettle international players.
UNTIRING EFFORTS OF SPORTS MINISTER NAMAL RAJAPAKSA
Extending a warm welcome on behalf of SLC President Shammi Silva and its Executive committee to all at the head table with particular mention of the privileged presence of the former Founder CEO of the LPG, Anil Mohan, and the media, the SLC Secretary said,“Indeed we are delighted to partner an innovative group of companies from the UAE. This is a historic occasion for Sri Lanka Cricket which had been planning the staging of this important 20-20 tournament for the last 3 years, but was deprived for various reasons with the current second wave of the COVID 19 in August this year creating so much of uncertainty. It was due to the untiring efforts of the Sri Lanka Cricket President, Shammi Silva of whom special mention must be made who vigorously pursued this initiative in making it become a reality despite complex issues and challenges and turbulent times. This tournament we know would be a valuable environment in blooding T20 players forf the future.”
He went on to also make special mention of the untiring efforets of the Sports Minister, Namal Rajapaksa who, recognising the significance of this meaningful exercise to put the country’s cricket on a very sound footing, had gone out of his way to make the tournament become a reality. “I must also specially thank the Sports Minister, Namal Rajapaksa who took painstaking efforts to assist SLC to stage this tournament by paving the way for the all important health clearance all round from the health authorities. The sports minister it made it possible for us to also obtain the blessings of the President and Prime Minister to stage the tournament in these trying circumstances,” the SLC Secretary further observed while also making special mention of the untiring efforts of SLC’s Dynamic Tournament Director of the LPL cum Vice President, Ravin Wickramaratne. “The Tournament Director, Ravin Wickramaratne worled tirelessly in a short period in addressing the most complex challenges in going through this process,” Mohan de Silva remarked.
‘EASTERN PROVINCE WILL BE THERE IN THE FUTURE’ – TOURN. DIRECTOR, RAVIN
Meanwhile, the SLC Tournament Director, Ravin Wickramaratne, fielding questions from the media as to why the Eastern Province had not been included for this tournament, said, “This (tournament) is only for this year. We have plans to increase the numbers in time to come. We have not left out the Eastern Province. We will accommodate them in the future.”
LPL UNDER CLOSED DOORS ON HEALTH GUIDELINES – SLC CEO, ASHLEY DE SILVA
SLC Chief Executive Officer, Ashley de Silva, fielding media questions as to the conducting of the tournament and why the media cannot be physically accommodated to cover the tournament proceedings, said, “There are health guidelines. There was the burning question of having to quarantine for 14 days. Hence, the decision to stage the tournament under closed doors. This was in accordance with guidelines placed by the country’s health authorities.”
THIS TOURNAMENT WILL GET BETTER & BETTER – EX-FOUNDER CEO OF LPG, ANIL MOHAN
Meanwhile, the former Founder CEO of the LPG, Anil Mohan raised high hopes for the future of Sri Lanka cricket through the LPL initiative when he said, “This tournament will happen and get better in the future.
Fielding questions from the media as to the payment of player fees, he said, “By the 28th 60 per cent of player fees will be paid to the players. The first payment had already been made.”