Inter-provinicial cricket set to turn into Sri Lanka’s premier first-class tournament


SLC technical committee chairman Aravinda de Silva shares details of future plans

Sri Lanka is taking a look to revive inter-provincial cricket in the newest attempt to create a more competitive first-class constitution. Even though exact details of the new competition have not been announced, chairman of SLC’s technical committee Aravinda de Silva has hinted that the provincial system will turn into the premier multi-day competition in the country. The present club system will live on with only minor alterations as mannered.

Provincial cricket has been sporadically attempted in Sri Lanka, but such competitions have in large part been short in duration, and have done little to connect to a fan base from the provinces every team is supposed to indicate. De Silva suggested the existing first-class clubs (of which there are now 26), is also required to band together in clusters to manage every of these provincial teams. This is an idea that had first been floated in 2015, by Mahela Jayawardene, before a change of leadership at SLC did absent with the plan for a cluster system.

“We are trying to create another tier in domestic cricket through a provincial tournament,” de Silva said. “What we need to do is make that a stronger four-day competition. In that provincial competition, we can have an “A” tier as mannered, which will give players opportunities to qualify for development squads. But the main provincial competition would be the feeder for the national team.

“We’re trying to create a pathway from the backside to the top by clustering clubs in order that we develop players leaving the school system correct to the highest level.”

De Silva used to be adamant that even though the existing club system is also trimmed down to three-day matches (at present, clubs play a mixture of three and four-day encounters), and even though the number of club matches is also reduced to make way for the provincial tournament, the club system would continue to be an integral a part of Sri Lanka’s domestic constitution. The club tournament also would not lose its first-class status.

“The clubs give you the infrastructure for players who are just out of school, because they get facilities, beef up and opportunities, to give these players a foundation. Without that foundation – whether we do away with the clubs – it’s like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot. The club system has been the foundation for us to develop our cricketers thus far. Whether we do away with that system, it’ll be very difficult for us to bridge that hole. You want somewhere for the 3000-odd cricketers leaving the school system to continue playing.”

SLC has made no official announcements on the exact nature of the new domestic constitution yet. De Silva’s technical committee working closely with Tom Moody – Sri Lanka’s new director of cricket – to finalise tournament details.

The clubs, then again, may wish to be won over by these new proposals. They have got generally been resistant to accept extra first-class competitions that threaten the club constitution’s status as the top domestic competition in the country.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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