The draft for the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League has been postponed, Sri Lanka cricket confirmed on Thursday as the country grapples with a recent surge in coronavirus cases.
Several leading international players including the likes of Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Daren Sammy, Shakib Al Hasan and Munaf Patel were going to feature in the player auction scheduled on October 9.
The draft was originally set to take place on October 1 but was pushed ahead by just over a week to adjust with the delay in the commencement of the T20 competition.
However, a cluster of coronavirus infections linked to a garment factory in the densely populated Western province over the past few days has resulted in more stringent restrictions imposed by the government.
"The 'Player Draft' will not go ahead as planned, owing to the current health situation," SLC said in a statement.
"The ‘Player Draft’ is rescheduled to be held on the 19th of October 2020, whilst SLC will closely monitor the health situation leading up to the new draft date," it added.
The 23-match tournament was set to kick off in August but the starting date was shifted to November 14 and now stands at November 21 to accommodate players arriving from the Indian Premier League and the Pakistan Super League.
SLC's decision follows a week after Bangladesh called off their Test tour of Sri Lanka, expressing apprehensions regarding the mandatory quarantine.
The Tests were supposed to serve as the two nations' return to international cricket following the coronavirus outbreak.