SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala (right) is keen to tap talent from schools and youth cricket © AFP
Sri Lanka Cricket has launched a ‘Super Under-19 Provincial Tournament’ to function as a sturdy link between schools cricket and senior cricket. The tournament will be contested between ten teams over three weeks, starting from April 19. Each side will play four two-day matches in the group stage, before the leaders in each group progress to a three-day final, to be played at Khettarama from 10-12 May.
“We have to invest into youth cricket, which we haven’t done enough,” SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said. “We used to see a lot of schoolboy cricketers knocking at the door of the national team, at the age of 18 or 19, but now we don’t see that. We have a huge quantity of schools cricket, but we haven’t focused on the quality. So we have concentrated the best players from that system here, in order to consolidate our cricket at that age group.”
The Western (Basnahira) province will produce three Super U-19 teams, as the “density of cricket in the Western province is more”, while Sabaragamuwa does not get a team, because SLC believes there is not enough cricket there to support a side. Players from the Sabaragamuwa province will instead be split between the Uva and Central Province sides.
Sumathipala said there was also scope for the weaker provincial sides to absorb the reserve players from stronger provinces, in order to bolster their outfits. The tournament is expected to cost 26 million rupees (approx. USD $180,000).
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo