Sri Lanka Cricket yesterday concluded the player draft for each of the seven teams for the SLPL, which begins on 11 August.
Of the 56 foreign players, Gayle, who is also the tournament’s co-international icon player, was contracted at $ 100,000 for three years. He will play for Uva. Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi playing for Ruhuna was contracted at $ 50,000. Other foreign players’ contracts ranged between a low of $ 10,000 and 35,000.
Sri Lankan stars who are also icon players for the respective teams, Mahela Jayawardena (Wayamba), Tillakaratne Dilshan (Basnahira), Kumar Sangakkara (Kandurata), Lasith Malinga (Ruhuna), Muttiah Muralitharan (Uthura) and co-international icon player Angelo Mathews (Negenahira) were also contracted at $ 50,000 each for three years, bringing them on par barring Gayle. Apart from these players, there are 111 local players vying for action during the 21-day tournament.
Old horse Sanath Jayasuriya was contracted at $ 35,000, which was the same value for current payers such as Nuwan Kulasekara, Tissara Perera, Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal and Chamapara Kapugedara, whilst for Chaminda Vaas it was $ 25,000 – same as for Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando and Chanaka Welagedara.
Also in the latter league were current test wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardena and others such as Suraj Randiv and Upul Tharanga. Interestingly, top Under 21 players picked will also enjoy between $ 5,000 and $ 7,000 each for their contracts.
All these funds amount to foreign inflows whilst SLPL will be a big boost for tourism and entertainment industries. Unlike the Indian Premier League’s auctioning method, the draft system was chosen for SLPL as it was the best way to ensure that players are evenly distributed among the teams, making it a level playing field.
The first selection of the local player draft yesterday was Dinesh Chandimal by Mahela Jayawardena of Wayamba. Kumar Sangakkara was first to pick Tissara Perera for his team Kandurata.
The first Under 21 player picked was Akila Dhananjaya by Wayamba. Other Under 21 players included were Kithruwan Vithanage (Kandurata), Gayan Maneeshan (Negenahira), Bhanuka Rajapakse (Uva), Chathura Peiris (Uthura), Ramith Rambukwella (Ruhuna), Dhanushka Gunathilake (Basnahira).
The SLPL franchise for seven years was concluded a fortnight ago, with Sri Lanka Cricket raising over $ 30 million. Indian firms dominated the bidding even though the Indian Cricket Board has said Indian players will not figure in the SLPL.
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.