By Srian Obeyesekere
The countdown to Sri Lanka Cricket’s much touted Lanka Premier League (LPL) T20 taking off on November 14, has begun with the days ticking to the auctioning of players on October 1. Accordingly, cricket in Sri Lanka will find fruition by the showcasing of the franchised showpiece event from November 14 to December 6, 2020. The staging of the greatly anticipated tournament by Sri Lankan cricket fans will be a landmark in the annals of Sri Lanka cricket it being the local version of the now famous Indian Premier League.
Given the success of the IPL, staging such a version in Sri Lanka is viewed as the beginning of a new era in taking the country’s cricket to the next level internationally. The participation of the cream of foreign talent with an estimated 150 players including the likes of Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi will signal the passaging where local latent talent from the grassroots level will get the opportunity to compete alongside the best. Literally it will be the dawn of adding new muscle to nourishing local talent by this new leaf of player mingling both local and foreign. In effect, it will be a boon to uplifting the player standard which will in turn be a shot in the arm to upping mainstream national cricket at all levels going by the tremendous effect the IPL has made in raising player standards and the competition levels globally. Notably, the IPL has succeeded in infusing a new tonic in galvanizing player performances by the fast paced limited over action to a point of enriching all three formats of the game by way of improvising. Indeed, improvising has helped take cricket to a new level in terms of the intensity this tournament format has created and therein the take off of the Lanka Premier League certainly holds great promise for the future of cricket in Sri Lanka.
In that vein, the cricket mood among locals is the countdown of the LPL that will receive its initial blessings with the player auction of the LPLon October 1 where up to six international players would be up for grabs by each franchise with about 30 international cricketers and 65 local cricketers making up the five teams.
The launch of the tournament in Hambantota will see cricket come alive once again from the long drought of several months following the COVID-19 pandemic. The LPL will be staged at Dambulla, Pallekele and Hambantota international stadiums