When Colombo takes on Dambulla in the first match of the Lanka Premier League on the 26th November at the MRICS, Hambantota, the ground located in the Deep South of Sri Lanka, bordering an International port and an airport, and few kilometers away from the Indian Ocean, the tournament will be another important addition to the high profile T20 leagues played across the world.
Even though, the LPL is the last to come out, of the many high profile T20 leagues such as, IPL, Big Bash, Pakistan Super League, Vitality Blast of England, Caribbean Premier League, and the Bangladesh Premier League, along with several others, the inaugural edition is already gaining the attention of the Cricketing world, for several reasons.
Top among them is that the tournament is scheduled to be held at a time when the entire world is facing a health crisis, whilst this has prompted SLC to hold the tournament in a ‘Bio Secure Environment’, thus protecting the players and the officials taking part in the tournament, from being affected by the Covid – 19 pandemic. The Global Health Crisis is also preventing the opening of the much-awaited T20 league to the spectators, who wish to witness the performance of the high-profile foreign players, Sri Lankan Stars and the up-and-coming talented youngsters in the local cricketing sphere by visiting the ground. However, the tournament will be shown live via television to a global audience, who will be keener and eager to get a glimpse of the action.
Teams and the Tournament format
The tournament features five teams, namely Colombo Kings, Dambulla Lions, Galle Gladiators, Jaffna Stallions, and Kandy Tusker, and each team will compete in 08 games during the first round, whilst the four teams, who will lead the points table will go into the Semi-Finals, which will decide the two finalists.
Each squad consists of 20 players, with a maximum of 6 foreign players, whilst the starting eleven should include a minimum of 03 and a maximum of 04 Foreign Players, whilst the rest of the 07 players will consist of local players.
A total number of 30 foreign players from across the world is set to play in the tournament with ‘High Profile International Cricketing Stars,’ ready to take part in this year’s edition.
Among the foreign players picked in the ‘LPL Player Draft’ include Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Carlos Brathwaite, and Manpreet Singh Gony, and many more.
Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Janith, Dinesh Chandimal, Dasun Shanka, Niroshan Dickwella, and Danushka Gunathilaka, and several other top International Stars of Sri Lanka are set to play in the inaugural edition of the tournament, thus bringing the much-needed glamour into the showpiece.
Gains for the Nation
The primary gain, Sri Lanka Cricket expects to make out of this tournament is improving its talent in the shortest format of the game, as the T20i has now become a vital component in the global cricketing family. With the International Cricket Council set to hold the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in 2021 in India and the postponed ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 during the year 2022 in Australia, this inaugural LPL edition is certainly expected to play a vital role in Sri Lanka Cricket’s preparation for the above two global showpieces.
Apart from it, a tournament of this magnitude, if held successfully will bring in the much-needed global attention to Sri Lanka and help enhance its image building process thus giving the nation’s tourism industry and its overall image a vital boost!