LPL-2 player draft: T20 World Cup cricketers rewarded

Thursday, 11 November 2021 01:49 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 9 overseas stars from ongoing T20 World Cup to participate
  • Banned Lankan cricketers return

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Chris Gayle
Charith Asalanka
Tabraiz Shamsi
Shoaib Malik

The second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) has attracted quite a number of international stars who have figured prominently in the ongoing T20 World Cup in the UAE and promises to be better and brighter than the first one which also had international players but not in the calibre as it is for the upcoming tournament.

A key feature of the player draft that was held on Tuesday is the return to competitive cricket of the three banned players namely Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka, the inclusion of 11 of the 15 members of the Sri Lanka team that took part in the T20 World Cup, and nine overseas stars who figured in the ongoing T20 World Cup. 

The exceptions are Kusal Perera who led Kandy Tuskers in last year’s competition, former Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, batting all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva and off-spinner Akila Dananjaya.

The top overseas icon players for each of the five participating teams are: Faf du Plessis (Jaffna Kings), Rovman Powell (Kandy Warriors), Mohammad Hafeez (Galle Gladiators), Chris Gayle (Colombo Stars) and Imran Thahir (Dambulla Giants). 

The top local icon players are; Thisara Perera who has been retained as captain by Jaffna Kings to defend the title they won last year, exciting new batting talent Charith Asalanka who is likely to lead Kandy Warriors, former Sri Lanka all-rounder Isuru Udana (Galle Gladiators), Sri Lanka’s spearhead in their T20 World Cup campaign Dushmantha Chameera (Colombo Stars) and Sri Lanka T20 World Cup captain Dasun Shanaka who will continue to lead Dambulla Giants.

Galle Gladiators will be led by Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, one of nine overseas players who are currently taking part in the T20 World Cup. The others are West Indies opener Chris Gayle who announced his international retirement at the T20 World Cup and probably will lead Colombo Stars, world number two ranked T20I spinner Tabraiz Shamsi from South Africa, Shoaib Malik of Pakistan, Mahedi Hasan and Taskin Ahmed (both from Bangladesh), Rehmullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran (both from Afghanistan) and Josh Little from Ireland.

The base prices for each of the categories are: 

Icon players (both overseas and local) is US$ 60,000, Diamond (overseas and local) – US$50,000, Gold (overseas and local) 2 slabs A category US$40,000 and B category US$25,000, Classic overseas – US$25,000, Classic local – US$15,000, Emerging local – US$10,000 and Supplementary US$3,000.

Ravin Wickramaratne, member of the LPL Governing Committee said, “We have to look at it positively because all the young players who have done well in the T20 World Cup have been rewarded. Picking the players of their choice is totally up to the franchisees. Chamika Karunaratne came from nowhere and he is getting US$50,000, Charith Asalanka is getting US$60,000 as an Icon player, Lahiru Kumara is coming at US$50,000. Who is going to pay so much for a player like Kumara who was paid US$15,000 last year? That’s a big thing for a young player. Those are the plus factors.”

“We are happy because several young players were selected, players like Pulina Tharanga, Ashian Daniel, Kamil Mishara have got recognition. The Player Draft was successfully conducted and everyone basically commended the way it was handled. From the positive side we can think of these youngsters for the next 10 years for Sri Lanka cricket,” said Wickramaratne.

LPL-2 will also see the return to competitive cricket of Sri Lanka players Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka who will represent Galle Gladiators and, Niroshan Dickwella who will play for Dambulla Giants. The three players were suspended from international and domestic cricket and fined and asked to undergo mandatory counselling. They appealed against their bans and SLC decided to relax their 6-month domestic ban after they got satisfactory counselling reports and paid the fine of Rs. 10 million each. Their one-year ban from international cricket and a further one-year ban from international cricket suspended for a period of two years still stands.   

The Player draft was conducted virtual with the participation of the five franchise owners and Sri Lanka Cricket officials and went on for more than three hours commencing at 8 pm.

The second edition of LPL will be held from 5-24 December at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota.