The player draft of the second Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) season is scheduled for July 14 in Colombo and is expected to contain several international players, including a strong South African contingent, according to the league’s chief executive officer, Ajith Jayasekara. The league is scheduled between August 10 and September 7.
“We have the entire South African squad with the exception of Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis lined up to take part,” Jayasekara said. “Pakistan has also shown their intention to send their present lot of cricketers but the participation of most of their key players depends on whether their tour to Zimbabwe takes place.”
South Africa are due to tour Sri Lanka from July 20 to August 6 for five ODIs and three T20s and there is a possibility that members of the visiting team will stay back to participate in the league.
“With the exception of England and India, players from all the other Test-playing nations have shown interest in participating in the league,” Jayasekara said. “Even a top performer like Chris Gayle has expressed his intention to take part once the Caribbean Premier League ends on August 24.”
Other West Indian players like fast bowlers Fidel Edwards and Jerome Taylor, as well as Australians such as Doug Bollinger, Brad Hodge and Shaun Tait are among those who are expected to participate. The list also includes Mushfiqur Rahim, the Bangladesh captain. Jayasekara also said the franchises would reveal the list of players they are releasing by July 8.
The draft rules allow a franchise to pick a minimum of 19 and a maximum of 25 players. If they stick to 19 players, the franchises have to pick seven international cricketers, nine domestic cricketers and three under-21 cricketers. If the squad comprises 25 members, the numbers change to 10, 11 and four respectively.
Last season, 56 international players, mostly from Australia and Pakistan, and 90 local players were drafted in the league.
Jayasekara brushed aside reports of problems with player payments in the first season. “We are perhaps the only league in the world to pay the players fees on time. Even the IPL has faltered on its payments. Some of the players who represented Kochi Tuskers Kerala have yet to receive their money and most of the players who took part in the Bangladesh Premier League have not been paid.”
Like last season, officials of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit will monitor all matches of the second season of the SLPL. SLC is also looking to increase the number of venues this season and matches are scheduled in Hambantota, Galle, Dambulla and Kurunegala, apart from the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and Pallekele stadium in Kandy. Jayasekera said the SLC was also exploring the possibility of hosting matches at Moratuwa and Matara.
“We want to take the matches to the provinces that are being represented in the tournament,” Jayasekera said. “Some of the matches will be day games because the venues do not have facilities for night matches.”
The SLPL was set up by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to generate steady revenue to improve their wavering financial position after the 2011 World Cup. SLC signed a 15-year agreement with a Singapore-based company, Somerset Entertainment Ventures, to host the SLPL under an equal profit sharing arrangement.
Jayasekera indicated that in the inaugural year, SLC earned as much as SLR 285 million, a figure which they approximately expect to receive each year over the next 14 years.
The number of teams participating in the league this year is the same as last season: Uva Next (defending champions), Nagenahira Nagas (runner-up), Kandurata Warriors and Wayamba United (losing semi-finalists), Ruhuna Royals, Uthura Rudras and Basnahira Cricket Dundee. (Cricinfo)