Sri Lanka Premier League 2012 August 10, 2012

Sri Lanka set for its Twenty20 league

Despite severe teething troubles, the league could be the facelift and morale-booster the beleaguered SLC needs
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The inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League begins on Saturday afternoon at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, when the Nagenahira Nagas play the Ruhuna Royals. It's the most high-profile tournament of its kind in the country and, despite severe teething troubles - including an aborted start last year and the withdrawal of top players in the past few days - could be the facelift and morale-booster the beleaguered SLC needs.

The board is currently mired in debt - $70 million at last estimate, thanks largely to World Cup 2011 cost overruns - but stands to make around $1.6 million in profit from the $2.45 million revenue. The seven franchisees will pay a total $30 million to the SLPL over seven years, with 50% of that going to Somerset Entertainment Ventures, the company marketing the tournament. "We're expecting the SLPL to be a positive in our books. The money coming in should definitely outweigh our costs," SLC treasurer Nuski Mohamed said.

On the field, the league features several quality international players, including Shahid Afridi, Albie Morkel, Kemar Roach and Ryan Harris, and all top Sri Lankan cricketers (or those fit enough to play). The coaching staff is equally high-profile: Waqar Younis is in charge of the Ruhuna Royals franchise, while ex-Sri Lanka coaches Tom Moody and Trevor Bayliss will coach the Uthura Rudras and Wayamba United respectively.

"Overall, the SLPL will help Sri Lankan cricket, " Younis said. "Because we've seen that wherever league cricket has been played, young cricketers have blossomed and given them confidence and a lot of courage and opportunities to play with the greats of the game. I think this will do exactly the same to Sri Lankan cricket."

The tournament comprises 24 matches played over three weeks in Colombo and Kandy, with teams allowed to field up to four foreign players per match. That's similar to the rules of the IPL and the Bangladesh Premier League but, unlike those tournaments, selections for the SLPL were made by draft rather than auction. Although 56 overseas players were initially contracted to the SLPL, several high profile signings - including Chris Gayle and Shakib Al Hasan - withdrew over the past week through injury.

The broadcast rights are with ESPN Star sports*, who will air the SLPL in 80 countries worldwide, while it is also being streamed with a ten-minute delay on YouTube. "Broadcasting our tournament on YouTube allows us to reach fans of cricket anywhere in the world," SLC president Upali Dharmadasa said. "Sri Lankans and non-Sri Lankans who are interested in watching the SLPL will have access to it."

Having been initially announced for 2011, the first edition of the SLPL was postponed when the BCCI refused to issue no objection certificates for the participation of Indian players, around whom much of the sponsorship had revolved. The BCCI also denied Indian players permission to play in the 2012 tournament, citing upcoming international cricket against New Zealand as an obstacle, but SEV CEO Sandeep Bhammer says this year's SLPL will be financially viable nonetheless.

"We don't need Indian players for this tournament, because even without them, interest in India will be high," Bhammer says. "Sri Lankan cricketers are very much known to Indian fans and are popular there. You can see that in the way Sri Lankans are elevated in the IPL teams."

*ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 13, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    @LordOfTheLions : what you are talking about check the stats ,who is the main sponsor for SLPL

  • on August 13, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    WELL. I MIGHT SEE THIS TOURNEY IF IT IS COMPETITIVE

  • bala_sachin on August 12, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    atleast slpl shoul provide one contract for the non icc countries like afg, png,ned,ire,sot

  • RaneshFernando on August 12, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    Supporting Wayamba.. Hope Mahela, Razzaq, Akila, Akmal & Taylor will fire !! Go Wayamba!!

  • LordOfTheLions on August 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    GOOD LUCK SLPL.. Why worry about indians..They wont do any value addition to SLPL. International players who are in SLPL are good with many good Pakistani criketers...

  • on August 12, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    @Chinmay Boriwal

    We love to see Virat,Tendulkar and Rahul Drawids in Action.BCCI is very selfish not allowing any of them to side Sri Lanka.BCCI is isolating itself and in a few years there wont be anyone supporting India outside India and internally everyone will be happy when Indians get thrashed.

  • on August 12, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    From the start SLC board allowed its Players to play in IPL with good faith but unfortunately BCCI dont allow there players to feature in our premier tournements so that SLPL can reach the indian populated crowds.Well for commercial reasons the spirit is lost.As a Sri Lankan Fan i would love to see some of the Indian stars on action.Money is not everything!!!!!!!!.BCCI attitude is the reason i started to hate indian cricket team when they Play with International opponents,though as a neighbour its not correct.

  • sumit176 on August 12, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @ahamed fahim....our players dont play for these peanuts,,,thank you

  • on August 12, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    rightly said.. that I am as a cricket fan closely following SLPL..with or without Indian Players.. If Indian players also play that would boost the game.. but as usual BCCI is unprofessional.. But I have a request.. I still don't know different teams.. members specially who captains who..please let me know.. your promos should include that.. all the best ..

  • sysubrceq0 on August 11, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    @Mansoor - IPL is a pure business venture just like SLPL. You cannot blame Indian Franchises to not pick Pakistani players in IPL, they have to blame themselves and the board (Ejaz Butt) after the fiasco IPL2. You know how the teams fared in IPL2 which has pakistani players whe board didn't allow their players to play. IPL Franchises want to be safe than spending money jigh risk players.

  • on August 13, 2012, 19:44 GMT

    @LordOfTheLions : what you are talking about check the stats ,who is the main sponsor for SLPL

  • on August 13, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    WELL. I MIGHT SEE THIS TOURNEY IF IT IS COMPETITIVE

  • bala_sachin on August 12, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    atleast slpl shoul provide one contract for the non icc countries like afg, png,ned,ire,sot

  • RaneshFernando on August 12, 2012, 11:21 GMT

    Supporting Wayamba.. Hope Mahela, Razzaq, Akila, Akmal & Taylor will fire !! Go Wayamba!!

  • LordOfTheLions on August 12, 2012, 9:41 GMT

    GOOD LUCK SLPL.. Why worry about indians..They wont do any value addition to SLPL. International players who are in SLPL are good with many good Pakistani criketers...

  • on August 12, 2012, 8:07 GMT

    @Chinmay Boriwal

    We love to see Virat,Tendulkar and Rahul Drawids in Action.BCCI is very selfish not allowing any of them to side Sri Lanka.BCCI is isolating itself and in a few years there wont be anyone supporting India outside India and internally everyone will be happy when Indians get thrashed.

  • on August 12, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    From the start SLC board allowed its Players to play in IPL with good faith but unfortunately BCCI dont allow there players to feature in our premier tournements so that SLPL can reach the indian populated crowds.Well for commercial reasons the spirit is lost.As a Sri Lankan Fan i would love to see some of the Indian stars on action.Money is not everything!!!!!!!!.BCCI attitude is the reason i started to hate indian cricket team when they Play with International opponents,though as a neighbour its not correct.

  • sumit176 on August 12, 2012, 4:27 GMT

    @ahamed fahim....our players dont play for these peanuts,,,thank you

  • on August 12, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    rightly said.. that I am as a cricket fan closely following SLPL..with or without Indian Players.. If Indian players also play that would boost the game.. but as usual BCCI is unprofessional.. But I have a request.. I still don't know different teams.. members specially who captains who..please let me know.. your promos should include that.. all the best ..

  • sysubrceq0 on August 11, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    @Mansoor - IPL is a pure business venture just like SLPL. You cannot blame Indian Franchises to not pick Pakistani players in IPL, they have to blame themselves and the board (Ejaz Butt) after the fiasco IPL2. You know how the teams fared in IPL2 which has pakistani players whe board didn't allow their players to play. IPL Franchises want to be safe than spending money jigh risk players.

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 11, 2012, 14:25 GMT

    @Chinmay Boriwal: I applaud your sentiment as a fellow Indian in this regard. Although, it's unfortunate that not many non-Indians exhibit the same mentality towards the IPL. It's raw hypocrisy and double standards in my opinion when you talk bad things about the IPL which happens to be the main reason for the inception of the SLPL. I am sure many Indians wish the SLPL success including myself. There is a thing or two we Indians can teach others when it comes to being supportive and encouraging. Proud to be an Indian from that a standpoint.

  • on August 11, 2012, 13:59 GMT

    who is saying that india is not involved?it is not possible to have a successful tournament without india/indians....the main/title sponsor of slpl is mahindra which is an indian company,also more than sri lankans and pakistanis we indians will watch it...so go SLPL...we are with you...ROCK ON !!

  • on August 11, 2012, 13:39 GMT

    i m supporting ruhana. and i m sure wahab, afridi and malinga will just turn the game.

  • on August 11, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    Some of People are saying that no Indian is a sweet part ... A joke isn't it ? Why so much hatred for Indians And IPL . They don't forget the Fact that out 8 six team owners is who ... ?? Indian obviously . So those who are against Indian think twice . Well leave these ......... a very good luck to SriLankan Cricket . I wish SLPL would a hit ..a big hit and Good for some young Cricketer .But please some excitement ..its dull a bit . May be will be in full swing after some games . All The best neighbors .

  • on August 11, 2012, 11:47 GMT

    Good Luck for inaugural SLPL!!!!!

  • on August 11, 2012, 10:45 GMT

    where is Imran Nazir??? Why he is not playing??

  • on August 11, 2012, 10:30 GMT

    It will be nice to see Pakistani's Players in action. It will be really exciting. May be helpful for them in the coming T-20 world cup.

  • on August 11, 2012, 10:05 GMT

    Nice to see the Pakistan starts in action. from a Lankan perspective

  • on August 11, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Come on cricinfo Make some noise for SLPL like u do for IPL will ya please?

  • RaneshFernando on August 11, 2012, 9:33 GMT

    good luck SLPL.. need more promotion from cricinfo // >>>>

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:48 GMT

    CANT WAIT GOOD LUCK GREETINGS FROM PAKISTAN

  • on August 11, 2012, 8:41 GMT

    i agreed with Samitha...why ESPN is on silence mode ...please make some noise like u did in IPL..we canm also pay some hah hahaha...

  • on August 11, 2012, 7:18 GMT

    This is Big Math Biggest Cricketer break world record player, sanath, sanga, mahela, murali, vaas, only one team in world record player. why ESPN cricinfo is not help that, not big money like india, SRI LANKA T20 CHAMPION AUSTRALIA SOUTH AFRICA WEST INDIES WORLD CLASS PLAYERS ENGLAND Genuine player

  • on August 11, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    Best of luck..Good wishes from Bangladesh.Long live SLPL & BPL.

  • on August 11, 2012, 5:56 GMT

    Good luck Sri Lanka. Shakib might not be playing, but hope Mushy plays well.

  • on August 11, 2012, 5:13 GMT

    where is Nuwan Kulasekara is he still injured?????????????????

  • on August 11, 2012, 4:57 GMT

    SLPL Will Rock In Sha ALLAH!! Its Going To Be aN Awesome Tournament Till Our Players Make Sure They Wont Inured Them Self Untill The WC End!! Speaciially Malinga,Mahela,Chandi,Thissara,Mathews!!

  • on August 11, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    good luck to SLPL please include more sri lanka A team squad players

  • on August 11, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    <3 <3 <3 SLPL <3 <3 <3 ... good luck to SLPL

  • on August 11, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    well guys.. it is the fancy cricket time now.. but i doubt how far this will be a success.. 1.climate : it is rainy even now.. in Colombo and kandy some rain always.. 2. big heads are missing.. u know who..:) 3. have we given captaincy for correct people..f?.. for example in kandurata in expense of sanga..y sanath? why can't we try on one future leader for sri lanka?? for utura kapugedara? but i like this fancy .. i love it as most sri lankans.. lets expect best..

  • YS_USA on August 11, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Now, India have selected players for NZ tests and T20 World series. What about the rest of the players. They could have played for SLPL, likes of Yousof Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Munaf patel, Rahul Sharma, Srisanth, Badrinath, etc., etc.

  • SLMaster on August 10, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    Good to hear and good luck. Let's hope for solid tournament.

  • on August 10, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    no indians,that the sweat part of SLPL

  • zuber21886 on August 10, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Having the powers right BCCI is isolating itself, if BCCI was a new board to cricket, it would certainly a different scenario.

  • vivek_khyati on August 10, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    srilanka premier league will do a lot of good for srilanka cricket.. like ipl it will be good for the local young as well as veteran players to earn good money.. also, there shall some good unknown talent that will become known to all.. some new lankan players can even get an ipl berth.. a few indian players would have added to the flavor.. nevertheless, the tournament would be a success in lanka..

  • yorkslanka on August 10, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    good luck Sri Lanka for the first competition...lets hope some of our promising players get some valuable exposure to top level players..lets also hope that some of the money gets to the players...

  • on August 10, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Good luck to SLPL. Indians did not include Pakistani players in IPL, now here they can show how much talented they are in this format of cricket!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • on August 10, 2012, 18:30 GMT

    Good luck to SLPL. Indians did not include Pakistani players in IPL, now here they can show how much talented they are in this format of cricket!

  • yorkslanka on August 10, 2012, 18:46 GMT

    good luck Sri Lanka for the first competition...lets hope some of our promising players get some valuable exposure to top level players..lets also hope that some of the money gets to the players...

  • vivek_khyati on August 10, 2012, 19:06 GMT

    srilanka premier league will do a lot of good for srilanka cricket.. like ipl it will be good for the local young as well as veteran players to earn good money.. also, there shall some good unknown talent that will become known to all.. some new lankan players can even get an ipl berth.. a few indian players would have added to the flavor.. nevertheless, the tournament would be a success in lanka..

  • zuber21886 on August 10, 2012, 19:23 GMT

    Having the powers right BCCI is isolating itself, if BCCI was a new board to cricket, it would certainly a different scenario.

  • on August 10, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    no indians,that the sweat part of SLPL

  • SLMaster on August 10, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    Good to hear and good luck. Let's hope for solid tournament.

  • YS_USA on August 11, 2012, 0:51 GMT

    Now, India have selected players for NZ tests and T20 World series. What about the rest of the players. They could have played for SLPL, likes of Yousof Pathan, Ravindra Jadeja, Munaf patel, Rahul Sharma, Srisanth, Badrinath, etc., etc.

  • on August 11, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    well guys.. it is the fancy cricket time now.. but i doubt how far this will be a success.. 1.climate : it is rainy even now.. in Colombo and kandy some rain always.. 2. big heads are missing.. u know who..:) 3. have we given captaincy for correct people..f?.. for example in kandurata in expense of sanga..y sanath? why can't we try on one future leader for sri lanka?? for utura kapugedara? but i like this fancy .. i love it as most sri lankans.. lets expect best..

  • on August 11, 2012, 2:23 GMT

    <3 <3 <3 SLPL <3 <3 <3 ... good luck to SLPL

  • on August 11, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    good luck to SLPL please include more sri lanka A team squad players