- Created on Tuesday, 17 July 2012 13:21
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Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) last evening unveiled its logo in a carnival of passion for cricket at an event held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo. The organizers of the event said accordingly, in 25 days or even before, cricket fever is certain to sweep the country, dwarfing all other activities. This event is expected to give a major fillip to the country’s tourism, leisure and entertainment industry.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Upali Dharmadasa told the media that despite the odds and after several years of difficult work, the Sri Lanka Cricket has at last achieved its objective.
The 24-game contest, featuring seven teams named after selected provinces of the country and involving 112 local and 56 global players, will begin on 10 August with a mega ceremony. The matches will be played in Colombo and Pallekelle.
Dharmadasa said that the SLPL would be a big boost for Under 21 cricketers, Team players, National Squad members and top stars locally as well as globally would get an opportunity to play competitive cricket with some of the world’s best names in the Twenty 20 game.
Sri Lanka Cricket Captain Mahela Jayawardene addressing the Media Conference held at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel said that when he first played for Sri Lanka, he never had big opportunities like the ones that young players have nowadays. He said that three under 21 players have to be there in each SLPL squad while one player must be included in the final XI. So this is a great initiative taken towards the benefit of the young players. He said that it is a fantastic opportunity for youngsters to play among greats of the game and share their experiences.
The former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said this is a great opportunity to promote Sri Lankan players and uplift Sri Lankan cricket while upholding the MCC spirit of cricket. He said that although a lot of foreign stars will feature in the tournament, Sri Lankan cricket will take center stage. He said that hopefully SLPL will be a stepping stone for a feast of talented cricketers thus creating healthy competition among them in order to have a top notched pool to choose from.
Organizers of the tournament said that the SLPL has thus far been a success by attracting $ 30 million in bids for the seven provincial franchises for seven years with an average price of US$ 4.33 million each. The seven franchises and their icon players are Basnahira (Western) Province – Tillakaratne Dilshan; Kandurata (Central) Province – Kumar Sangakkara, Nagenahira (Eastern) Province – Angelo Matthews; Ruhuna (Southern) Province – Lasith Malinga; Uthura (Northern) Province – Muttiah Muralitharan; Uva (South East) Province – Chris Gayle and Wayamba (North West) Province – Mahela Jayawardena. (niz)