The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board has announced plans to launch a new domestic T10 franchise league next year in partnership with sports agency T-Ten Global Sports, organizer of the Abu Dhabi T10 league.
The national governing body said the inaugural edition of Lanka T10 will span 12 days in June 2023 but is likely to be moved to a December playing slot for future editions due to the domestic T20 League, the Lanka Premier League, being scheduled for the August window.
The league will have both men’s and women’s tournaments, with six men’s teams and four women’s teams. Each team will represent a Sri Lankan city.
Each team will be allowed a 16-member squad but will be limited to fielding a maximum of six foreign players.
Sajee Ul Mulk, president of T-Ten Global Sports, said: “Lanka hopes to attract more exciting international cricketers in the T10 tournament. Also, this tournament is a good opportunity to focus on the talents of Sri Lanka's bright young cricketers and cricketers. Our sports management company has provided good support for the shortest format of the game.
“Cricket lovers and stakeholders who join the tournament have confidence in the Sri Lanka T10 tournament.”
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While precise dates and venues are yet to be finalized, venues in Kandy and Hambantota have been earmarked to host some matches, while SLC said it anticipates more than 1,600 player registrations for the upcoming player draft – the same figure for the latest Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The new league follows the establishment of the Abu Dhabi T10 by T-Ten, the first major cricket league in the T10 short format. The sixth edition of the league starts tomorrow (November 23) and runs through December 4.
Since then, similar short-form competitions have been established including the Qatar T10 tournament in 2019 and the Singapore T10 League, which launched last year.
Sri Lanka has been a vocal supporter of T10 cricket and was the first full member to sanction and endorse its players to participate in the Abu Dhabi T10 League. Since then, the cricket boards in the West Indies, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have followed suit.
Announcing the plans at a ceremony in Colombo, SLC honorary president Shammi Silva said: “The [Lanka] T10 cricket tournament is a great addition to our annual cricket calendar. As a cricket institution, we are happy to be a part of the game of cricket which is changing and developing.
"Especially Sri Lankan women cricketers are keen to play T10 short form of cricket. It is sure that this Sri Lanka T10 tournament will be the most popular among them.
“Like the LPL tournament, Sri Lanka Cricket intends to hold this T10 league with teams and sponsors that have commercial value that is important to the country. This will bring in large amounts of dollars in a way that is good for the country's economy.”
The Lanka Premier League is set to run its upcoming 2022 edition from December 6 to 23 after being postponed from August amid the country’s economic crisis.
The 2022 LPL will feature five teams playing across three venues including Sooriyawewa in Hambantota, as well as Pallekele and Khettarama in Colombo.
Domestic media rights for all the league’s 23 matches were awarded to news broadcaster Ada Derana 24. The deal was struck by sports marketing company IPG Sports, which holds commercial rights for the LPL under a five-year contract with SLC starting in 2020.