West Indies opener Chris Gayle and Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews have been named as the two international icon players for the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) that begins on 10 August.
The duo 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 Uva Province, while Afridi who was a popular candidate for international icon slot but not considered because of his other commitments will play for Nagenahira.
At the time of this edition went to print, the auctioning and selection of foreign players for SLPL was proceeding at the Taj Samudra Hotel.
Last week, Sri Lanka Cricket auctioned the seven Sri Lanka Premier League teams for an average price of 4.3 million dollars.
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.
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 31 August. There will be 24 games in total, split between Colombo and Pallekele.