The draft for Sri Lanka’s upcoming Premier League tournament has been postponed, the cricket board said Thursday, as the island nation battles to contain its biggest-ever coronavirus outbreak.
Leading internationals including Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Darren Bravo, Shahid Afridi and Shakib Al Hasan had been up for grabs at a Friday ceremony ahead of the Twenty20 competition.
But with more than 1000 workers at one factory near the capital Colombo testing positive in just 72 hours this week, the government has locked down some regions and banned public gatherings.
“The ‘Player Draft’ will not go ahead as planned, owing to the current health situation,” governing body Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.
The auction-style event was rescheduled to October 19 and SLC added that it would continue to “closely monitor the health situation” over the next few days.
The 23-match event has already been rescheduled twice. It was due to kick off in August but was moved to November 14 and then November 21.
Sri Lanka has reported almost 4500 coronavirus infections and 13 related deaths so far.
The decision comes just over a week after Bangladesh called off its Test series in Sri Lanka, saying the hosts’ virus restrictions were too onerous.
The Tests in October-November were meant to mark the two nations’ return to international cricket after a months-long lockdown halted professional sports worldwide.
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