West Indies opener Chris Gayle and Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi have been named the two international icon players in the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) that begins August 10.
The presence of the duo, who will join five other Sri Lanka players as icons of their respective teams, lend the fledgling league some star power and have the potential to boost viewership. Reports suggest that Gayle will represent the Uva province, while Afridi will play for Nagenahira.
Last week Sri Lanka Cricket auctioned the seven Sri Lanka Premier League teams for an average price of $4.3 million. A number of Indian companies are believed to have successfully bid for teams in the SLPL, highlighting the lure of the franchise model in cricket’s largest market despite the BCCI’s reluctance to allow Indian players to participate. Among the companies are the Wadhawan Group, a business conglomerate with interests in real estate, retail and education, India Cricket Dundee, an Indian fan organisation along the lines of the Barmy Army, and the Delhi-based Rudra Group, which also has interests in real estate.
A player draft will be conducted on July 5 and 6, with a lottery held to determine the order in which players are picked. SLC will determine the value of the contract for each player in advance and the franchises will be made aware of the cost of the player. The players will be drafted in two groups – the first consisting of players from Sri Lanka and the second, the foreign players. The draft is being seen as the best way to ensure that players are evenly distributed among the teams, making it a level playing field.
The SLPL will run for three weeks, with the final to be held on August 31. There will be 24 games in total, split between Colombo and Pallekele. Teams will be allowed a maximum of 18 players, out of which six can be foreign players. Teams will be allowed play a maximum of four foreign players per game. Out of the remaining seven players in the XI, one must be a Sri Lanka Under-21 international. (Paktribune)
Basnahira Province – Tillakaratne Dilshan
Kandurata Province – Kumar Sangakkara
Nagenahira Province – Shahid Afridi
Ruhuna Province – Lasith Malinga
Uthura Province – Muttiah Muralidharan
Uva Province – Chris Gayle
Wayamba Province – Mahela Jayawardena