Sri Lanka moves forward T20 league for South Africa tour

The competition had already been delayed three times and the number of venues cut from three to one because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sri Lanka's Kusal Mendis (R) is congratulated by teammate Avishka Fernando after he scored a century (100 runs) during the second one day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and West Indies at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium in the southern district of Hambantota on 26 February 2020. Picture: AFP.

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka will bring forward the Lanka Premier League tournament to give its national team more preparation time ahead of their Test tour of South Africa, the cricket board said Sunday.

The 23-match Twenty20 league - which will feature Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis, Shahid Afridi and Carlos Brathwaite - will now start on 26 November, one day earlier than scheduled, Sri Lanka Cricket said.

The competition had already been delayed three times and the number of venues cut from three to one because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It will conclude on 16 December, two days before the national squad flies to South Africa for two Tests.

"The LPL was advanced so that our players will have an extra day to prepare for the South Africa Test series," a board official told AFP.

The South Africa tour would be the first international trip for Sri Lanka after a months-long lockdown halted professional sports worldwide.

The first Test against the Proteas, part of the ICC World Test Championship series, starts on 26 December. The second Test will be held from 3 January.

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