Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the governing body for the game in the island nation, has demanded that 10 national players including former captains Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Janith Perera must be included in the second edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), scheduled to begin from December 5.
SLC has forwarded the names of Mathews, Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Praveen Jayawickrama, Minod Bhanuka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Ashan Priyanjan and Shiran Fernando, who all were opted out from the selection by the LPL franchises.
While directing to include these ten players, including those who were in the Sri Lanka’s T20 squad at the ongoing T20 World cup, the SLC asked the franchisees to pick two players each for the five teams.
The SLC said that being the governing body of the domestic T20 league, it has observed that franchise owners have not selected some national players and some young players, who play some excellent domestic cricket and are considered potential future stars.
“Considering the above deficiency and in the interest of the game of cricket in Sri Lanka, the Governing Council of the Lanka Premier League 2021 decided to forward the names of 10 deserving players, who missed out during the Player draft, to all the franchise owners, and make it ‘mandatory’ for each franchise to select two players out of the given 10 into their squad, thus expanding the squad strength from 20 to 22,” the SLC said in a statement.
The SLC had said that for this year’s edition, 673 applications were received from foreign players and 358 from local cricketers who were keen to represent the domestic presence at the LPL.
“Accordingly, a total of 1,031 players (local and overseas) went into the draft, whilst the ‘Right’ of selecting the suitable and desirous players for the 20 member squads, was solely vested with the ‘Franchise Owners’ subject to compliance with the guidelines set by the SLC,” it stated.
As per reports, around 74 international cricketers including the likes of veteran Imran Tahir, Mohammad Amir, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Dawid Malan and Faf du Plessis, Mohammad Hafeez and Tabraiz Shamsi were drafted in by various teams of the LPL.
Significantly, the upcoming edition of the LPL will commence on the December 5 at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium (RPICS), Colombo.
The inaugural game of the season will be played between Galle and Jaffna. The first round of the tournament, which will consist of 20 games will be played at the RPICS before it moves into Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium (MRICS), Hambantota to proceed with the final round games.
The finals of the League will be played on the December 23 at the MRICS, Hambantota, whilst this year’s tournament has December 24, as a ‘Reserve Day’ dedicated for the finals.