Sri Lanka Premier League mid-season review August 21, 2012

SLPL slowly generates its own identity

It loses authenticity by attempting to match the IPL for glitz, but at least by putting domestic players in the limelight and finally attracting interest from the public, its benefits to Sri Lankan cricket are becoming clearer
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Considering the sheer number of complications the SLPL has suffered since its inception, it may not be unfair to say that if the SLPL had been a baby, its parents would probably have put it up for adoption. If it had been a racehorse, it would already be glue. If it had been the Millenium Falcon, we may never have even discovered that that small moon was really a battle station.

The tournament's biggest overseas drawcard withdrew before the commencement; the SLPL's website was hacked and defaced during the opening ceremony; a tape alleging corruption in one of the franchises had emerged; the tournament has failed to attract decent crowds, and has largely been boycotted by the local media who have opposed it for being 'too Indian'; and most recently, allegations of sexual misconduct between an employee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and one of the organisers have added yet another serving of tournament kryptonite. In just over two weeks, the SLPL has combined the criminality and scandal of The Sopranos, with the viewer interest of Halle Berry's Catwoman.

Yet, halfway through its 24-match schedule, the tournament rolls on, apparently unconcerned. The cricket, which has largely been watchable, even compelling, may as well be happening on a parallel universe untouched by the match-fixing allegations and media antagonism. The pitches have been sporting - spinners, swingers and dashers have all enjoyed success in equal helpings. Sides like the Nagenahira Nagas have strung together impressive results, despite the lack of superstars, homegrown or foreign. And though the catching has sometimes veered toward awful, Sri Lanka internationals, who seemed burnt out in the ODI series against India have contributed heavily, and seemed rejuvenated in fierce provincial clashes against their usual team-mates. Thilan Samaraweera even played two type-busting scoop shots that both flew to the boundary.

The overseas talent, which reads a little like a who's who of cricketers who have played for Pakistan in the last half decade, has perhaps been the most disappointing aspect of the tournament. Shahid Afridi and Brendan Taylor have failed to fire, and Kyle Mills and Scott Styris have not been at their best either. Brad Hogg is yet to even get a game. But amid a majority of underwhelming imports, there have been a few stellar foreign performers. Sohail Tanvir is swinging the ball as far as it's likely ever been swung in Sri Lanka, and has been the key to Kandurata Warriors' resurgence after a poor start, Kamran Akmal and Tamim Iqbal have formed a dangerous opening pair for Wayamba United, and Mushfiqur Rahim has been a crucial cog in the Nagenahira's success so far.

Even the crowds have finally begun to show. Hundreds of Wayamba fans, all in team shirts, amassed in two large blocks at Pallekele International Stadium on Sunday, before their noise and presence was taken up by a large group of Uva Next fans for the second match of the evening's double header. Some have even come hundreds of kilometres and taken time off work to partake.

"Where I live, we don't get much of a chance to see the domestic cricketers play," says Keerthi Jayatilleke, who has traveled from the coastal town of Wennapuwa to Kandy. "I can support my team (Wayamba United) who are doing well, I can see some of the promising stars for Sri Lanka like Dilshan Munaweera, (Akila) Dananjaya and Shaminda Eranga and I can have a good time."

In just over two weeks, the SLPL has combined the criminality and scandal of The Sopranos, with the viewer interest of Halle Berry's Catwoman

Good times have indeed been had at the SLPL, even before the spectators arrived in numbers. The hired papare bands have helped create a sense of atmosphere, even if it is the canned version, rather than the real thing, and the few fans who have come have drunk, sung and danced their way to a good night out. The IPL-style cheerleaders (covered up to suit Sri Lankan sensibilities of course), have at times been outdone by hundreds in the stands, who lack the cheerleaders' choreography, but more than compensate in the limbs-flying-everywhere-spastically stakes. Large groups of teenage boys have even begun gathering behind the cheerleaders at each corner of the ground, and mass-mimicking the dancers' moves - seemingly in caricature, but partly, surely, in veiled adulation. Though plenty have moaned that Indian sponsors, Indian franchisees, Indian organisers and Indian gimmicks have rung false in a Sri Lankan domestic tournament, by yelling, partying and generally behaving like hyperactive maniacs in the stands, the public have restored some 'Sri Lankan-ness' to the occasion.

The expatriate reaction has also been good, if YouTube hits and internet forum buzz are any indication. Each match is being streamed with a 10-minute delay on YouTube, and the official channel is already approaching 200,000 hits. "Even if it's not a tournament that gets a lot of crowds in Sri Lanka, it gives the thousands of Sri Lankan cricket fanatics who live elsewhere the chance to actually see some of the young players coming through," says Dilan Silva, who has been watching the tournament online from Oslo. "Otherwise, we read these guys' names on websites and newspapers, but have never actually seen them in action. It's good to see them rubbing shoulders with international players from all over as well, and it's nice that even if it's just T20, that Sri Lankan domestic cricket gets this kind of exposure."

The SLPL has also taken on added significance not simply as a warm-up for the World Twenty20, for which R Premadasa Stadium (Colombo) and Pallekele are the two main venues, but as a proving ground for players on the cusp of selection for Sri Lanka's final 15, as acknowledged by the SLC when they requested an additional week to finalise selections. Akila Dananjaya has had four matches as good as can be expected for someone who has never played first-class or List A cricket before, and Ajantha Mendis has bowled himself firmly into contention as well. Others like Chathuranga Kumara (Wayamba) and Dushmantha Chameera (Nagenahira) are players to watch.

Whether the crowds will continue to improve when the SLPL returns to Colombo for its pointy end remains to be seen, and with the cloud of a corruption investigation hanging overhead, it may be that at least one more major difficulty is still in the works for the tournament. For the moment though, the SLPL appears to be gathering speed. It loses authenticity by attempting to match the IPL for glitz, but at least by putting domestic players in the limelight and finally attracting interest from the public, its benefits to Sri Lankan cricket are becoming clearer.

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sakthiivel on August 24, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    @ Vibhanu : You can only talk about Group stage or round 8. Because your team never win other than that. Winning final matters. Every one remember winners not the runners.

  • mahafuz1983 on August 24, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Another though from me is that retired cricketers shouldn't be allowed in these t20 leagues...a separate league maybe held for them....its a dilemma.....I want to see my past heroes in action very much but here is the thing.....I do not want to see them trash by young people...for example Murali has been taken a apart in SLPL....Sanath how well he batted you all saw.....Tamim Hit murali for the biggest six so far....I don't want to offend my fellow Bangladeshi Brothers but trust me a young murali would cozed more trouble for tamim...Ganguly made a joke of himself in IPL....now Narine ivs Ganguly or Sanath is no fair......but ganguly vs murali is fair...Narine vs watson is fair......its really not nice to see my past heroes taken apart due to age and in touch with the game advantage......beside not allowing retired cricketers in these leagues will stop some current cricketers from retiring unexpectedly.....just a thought guys

  • mahafuz1983 on August 24, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    IPL,SLPL,BPL,BIG BASH, COUNTY.....all rocks....end of story....even those homeless kids who play cricket with a stick and ping-pong ball...their cricket rocks also....the discussion should be on the game, the pitch, team combination, about a deadly spell, good fielding or incredible batting....not SLPL VS IPL OR India Vs Srilanka......on a personal note I do like the pitches giving a good fight between bat and ball....but I do miss the Indian Batsman and the glamour of IPL.....quality of cricket is world class though the format is short....guess you can't have all together...can't wait for similar staff from pakistan....but I guess coz of safety reason it will be after a while....anyway somebody told before cricket whenever wherever is enjoyble....I belive that too....love from Bangladesh

  • Vibhanu on August 24, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @Shakthival:Let's talk about your consistent losing in GROUP STAGES in world cups recent past.wc 2007:lost 2 out of three matches against SL and Ban at goup stage/wc 2009:Lost all three matches in super 8 group A / wc 2010:Lost all three matches in super 8 in group B.....

  • on August 24, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    better or not time will tell, but it is surely the first ever league we pakistanis are watching with pure interest (me+people around me not sure about whole pakistan :) as i watch T.V just for cricket matches mostly, i never tuned T.V that much for IPL or BPL but for any international matches involving PAKISTAN, and one illegal league of Kapil dev which had team from lahore (Lahore badsha)* and this one SLPL .. so in my eyes it is a sure winner, reasons can be good cricket, players from pakistan, live broadcasting at youtube by espn/star and also our love for Srilankan BROTHERS <3 so yes we are enjoying it alot and we hope SLPL is there to stay for long run :-) best of luck SRILANKA <3

  • on August 24, 2012, 1:14 GMT

    This is totally biased article. every tournament has its scandals... but dont try to reduce viewer ratings by putting negative remarks... the quality of cricket has been good... and the whole point is to breed young players... and give the domestic player a good exposure... and to make money... i think it will be good for cricket overall in Lanka...

  • Uppercut07 on August 23, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    @sakthivel thank u for admiting dat indian wins r flukes. :D. so after india's losses of 0-8 can we also say india is becoming consistent in loosing??. Btw IPL has contributed handily to those losses , by providing more flat tracks, hasnt it?

  • Psd1974 on August 23, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    It looks clear case of Jealousy with IPL, why you always compaire your tournaments (Current & future like pakistan's own league etc) with IPL, and when you find you can't replicate same success, then blame game starts. It's a game of cricket, enjoy it.. does not matter if it's IPL, SLPL or PPL etc. Winning and Loosing are part of it, every country and player contribute in making the game successful.

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    wickyroypaklover - it is beyond imagination what u want to prove , we never compare our players with u r s & rubbish them, in the past in so many threads i countered u r big mouth with stats but u never able to prove with stats, IMRAAN is history , we too had great players, at present u dont have an young player of international standard we never coment like this , CANT WIN IN EVEN IN WI, SL we all have seen u r great T-20 , I AM SEARCHING U R T-20 heroics , how many world cups u won just wait .

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    VIBHANU-I DONT think u r memory line just struck on our 2 away loses , beyond that so many seccess stories to show but the people wha cant digest others seccess never understand , even u r on going SLPL is organised with our colebration , baring those 2 tours we proved every where, un like u who cant win a test in INDIA , just one away win over SA u people behaving as if u r champs on thiose tracks first beat us at u r place more over its a mythe or just to demean us that u people always say our bawling is weak than how could u r team could not scopre tons of runs in u r place even u were all out in t-20 match, grow up man those 2 loses in eng, aus are history , eng done it at thier place same applies to them also but they cant even win at thier home now a day as u r team .

  • Sakthiivel on August 24, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    @ Vibhanu : You can only talk about Group stage or round 8. Because your team never win other than that. Winning final matters. Every one remember winners not the runners.

  • mahafuz1983 on August 24, 2012, 14:31 GMT

    Another though from me is that retired cricketers shouldn't be allowed in these t20 leagues...a separate league maybe held for them....its a dilemma.....I want to see my past heroes in action very much but here is the thing.....I do not want to see them trash by young people...for example Murali has been taken a apart in SLPL....Sanath how well he batted you all saw.....Tamim Hit murali for the biggest six so far....I don't want to offend my fellow Bangladeshi Brothers but trust me a young murali would cozed more trouble for tamim...Ganguly made a joke of himself in IPL....now Narine ivs Ganguly or Sanath is no fair......but ganguly vs murali is fair...Narine vs watson is fair......its really not nice to see my past heroes taken apart due to age and in touch with the game advantage......beside not allowing retired cricketers in these leagues will stop some current cricketers from retiring unexpectedly.....just a thought guys

  • mahafuz1983 on August 24, 2012, 13:58 GMT

    IPL,SLPL,BPL,BIG BASH, COUNTY.....all rocks....end of story....even those homeless kids who play cricket with a stick and ping-pong ball...their cricket rocks also....the discussion should be on the game, the pitch, team combination, about a deadly spell, good fielding or incredible batting....not SLPL VS IPL OR India Vs Srilanka......on a personal note I do like the pitches giving a good fight between bat and ball....but I do miss the Indian Batsman and the glamour of IPL.....quality of cricket is world class though the format is short....guess you can't have all together...can't wait for similar staff from pakistan....but I guess coz of safety reason it will be after a while....anyway somebody told before cricket whenever wherever is enjoyble....I belive that too....love from Bangladesh

  • Vibhanu on August 24, 2012, 12:32 GMT

    @Shakthival:Let's talk about your consistent losing in GROUP STAGES in world cups recent past.wc 2007:lost 2 out of three matches against SL and Ban at goup stage/wc 2009:Lost all three matches in super 8 group A / wc 2010:Lost all three matches in super 8 in group B.....

  • on August 24, 2012, 6:02 GMT

    better or not time will tell, but it is surely the first ever league we pakistanis are watching with pure interest (me+people around me not sure about whole pakistan :) as i watch T.V just for cricket matches mostly, i never tuned T.V that much for IPL or BPL but for any international matches involving PAKISTAN, and one illegal league of Kapil dev which had team from lahore (Lahore badsha)* and this one SLPL .. so in my eyes it is a sure winner, reasons can be good cricket, players from pakistan, live broadcasting at youtube by espn/star and also our love for Srilankan BROTHERS <3 so yes we are enjoying it alot and we hope SLPL is there to stay for long run :-) best of luck SRILANKA <3

  • on August 24, 2012, 1:14 GMT

    This is totally biased article. every tournament has its scandals... but dont try to reduce viewer ratings by putting negative remarks... the quality of cricket has been good... and the whole point is to breed young players... and give the domestic player a good exposure... and to make money... i think it will be good for cricket overall in Lanka...

  • Uppercut07 on August 23, 2012, 18:25 GMT

    @sakthivel thank u for admiting dat indian wins r flukes. :D. so after india's losses of 0-8 can we also say india is becoming consistent in loosing??. Btw IPL has contributed handily to those losses , by providing more flat tracks, hasnt it?

  • Psd1974 on August 23, 2012, 17:34 GMT

    It looks clear case of Jealousy with IPL, why you always compaire your tournaments (Current & future like pakistan's own league etc) with IPL, and when you find you can't replicate same success, then blame game starts. It's a game of cricket, enjoy it.. does not matter if it's IPL, SLPL or PPL etc. Winning and Loosing are part of it, every country and player contribute in making the game successful.

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    wickyroypaklover - it is beyond imagination what u want to prove , we never compare our players with u r s & rubbish them, in the past in so many threads i countered u r big mouth with stats but u never able to prove with stats, IMRAAN is history , we too had great players, at present u dont have an young player of international standard we never coment like this , CANT WIN IN EVEN IN WI, SL we all have seen u r great T-20 , I AM SEARCHING U R T-20 heroics , how many world cups u won just wait .

  • g.narsimha on August 23, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    VIBHANU-I DONT think u r memory line just struck on our 2 away loses , beyond that so many seccess stories to show but the people wha cant digest others seccess never understand , even u r on going SLPL is organised with our colebration , baring those 2 tours we proved every where, un like u who cant win a test in INDIA , just one away win over SA u people behaving as if u r champs on thiose tracks first beat us at u r place more over its a mythe or just to demean us that u people always say our bawling is weak than how could u r team could not scopre tons of runs in u r place even u were all out in t-20 match, grow up man those 2 loses in eng, aus are history , eng done it at thier place same applies to them also but they cant even win at thier home now a day as u r team .

  • Sakthiivel on August 23, 2012, 12:25 GMT

    @ Vibhanu : For the fact SL won the one and only world cup in sub continent. Wheres as 2 out of 3 world cup india won in non subcontinental pitches. We are never a chokers like SL. I accept your record are consistent, Yup consistent in losing the finals.

  • Sakthiivel on August 23, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    @ Vibhanu : So Srilanka team always chokes in semis and finals. So chokers team with good talents. @ Uppercut07 : We may have won the world cups on fluke but you loss consistent in WC finals and semis is not fluke.

  • Uppercut07 on August 23, 2012, 6:25 GMT

    @Vibhanu dont bother with this guy sakthivel, he always throws the '3- worldcups' theory, when all three have been 'flukes'.India- no consistency, no performance on on green tracks. Everything happened to them have been by chance.(even IPL copied from a private concept calle ICL). Since there are 2 billion pple in India, the chance of 'flukes' happening are higher :D

  • Vibhanu on August 22, 2012, 21:43 GMT

    @Shakthival:Last 16 yrs Srilanka were semi finalists in 2003 cwc,runners up 2007 and 2011 cwc.Also runners up in 2009 t20 wc and semi finalist in 2010 t20 wc.Our record is consistent mate.We didn't win 2011 wc.It's true.But if it was played in any other soil and our key players wern't injured the result wouldn't be the same.India were and are heavily depended on batting.That's why they don't succeed anywhere but sub continent.Do I need to memerize you,your last Austrailian and England tours?

  • Sakthiivel on August 22, 2012, 17:18 GMT

    @ Vibhanu : We indians accept that we havent produced bowlers like Srilanka. But we have won 3 world cups. With wonderful great bowlers from srilanka,how many world cups do you won. Only one , That too long long ago so long ago. What you won in last 16 years., nothing.

  • on August 22, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    we shouldnot compare SLPL with IPL. this is our owen tournemet,as a sri lankan i am happy to have such kind of tournement in Sri lanka. All the best

  • WickyRoy.paklover on August 22, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    @Countrstrike1.6,well its upto u man!,anyhow i wish slpl to be betrly organisd 4 nxt version,bt 4 all d obvious reasons,i guess pak's own league(whenevr it hapens) would provide toughest competitn to ipl though.BT Personaly i m more interestd in watchng nations playng against nations nt a certain playr x,playng against certain y.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 14:11 GMT

    @ Vibhanu - Take it the other way round. Reason why SLPL is low scoring because most of the batsmen ar Sri Lankan so they are unable to bat against Quality bowlers. How was that ?

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 13:56 GMT

    @ KingOwl - Indian type flat tracks ? It seems, you guys forget everytime that your own nation prepares flat tracks so that your batsmen could score plenty of runs. Call it "Sri Lankan type Flat Track". That makes sense !

  • Vibhanu on August 22, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    If you want to see enough runs being scored ,then ipl is the best place.Because most of the bowlers in ipl are indian bowlers.I think slpl should ask indian bowlers to come here and bowl next time.Then Indian fans can watch high scoring matches and big sixes.But don't expect big hitting against srilankan and pakistan bowlers.

  • on August 22, 2012, 13:18 GMT

    For the cricket lovers, who are interested in comparative critiques of the cricket league systems : Can remember of the ICL in India which took a place prior to the birth of IPL, which considered to be a utter failure and set the stories for lots of controversial news.. But IPL catch the market. That is the nature of the league system. First fails and then take its own form!!!

  • cooldxve on August 22, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    The quality of cricket played in SLPL is good and enjoyable. But the thing that I am not liking about SLPL is they are copying everything from IPL. It is not necessary to copy IPL. They should bring in their own new ideas and try different things in SLPL. This will make it more interesting.

    Well I am sorry if my comments hurt any SL or Ind fan.

  • KingOwl on August 22, 2012, 12:48 GMT

    It's great that the wickets are not the Indian type flat tracks. It's good for the real cricket fans. By the way, there is nothing wrong with being glitzy, like in IPL, if at all possible. Being glitzy during high profile sporting events is not just an IPL thing. It is a worldwide thing. Granted, IPL benefits from Bollywood influence. But SL does not have to remain at the bottom of the pile in the glitzy ratings. The country and even more so, its people, have to and are modernising. And there is nothing wrong with that!

  • sl_supporter on August 22, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I hope that SLPL will continue to in the coming years without any Indian players. It will be a very successful tournament and hopefully will get some non-Indian sponsors.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 11:53 GMT

    @ WickyRoy.paklover - Im NOT one of those fans who pamper only their batsmen. I respect your opinion but can't change mine.

  • on August 22, 2012, 8:09 GMT

    slpl is boring, it is not making enough run, t20 is a game of runs, sl board should have been consider that and please make some batting wickets for t20 world cup. without that it may be also a boring world cup.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on August 22, 2012, 7:36 GMT

    @AryaBhatta,yup!@counterStrike1.6 wel i dn't agree bt ths z typical indian cricket mentality who always look to pamper their batsmen,bt i gues in reality,a die hard cricket fan would always löoks to prefer d balance btwen bat n bal ,check out pak has round about bst record in t20's in genral and t20 wcps in particular,bt their average scores lie btwen 145-150,and it hasn't lowerd their fan folowing in crickt wrld at all,my point z crickt lovrs want to see their stars give their bst in whatevr role they play whethr they bat or ball.

  • randikaayya on August 22, 2012, 7:21 GMT

    Good to see constructive comments from Indian cricket lovers and our own SL fans appreciating that. Was getting a bit sick of the constant banter and unpleasant exchanges! SLPL is certainly a positive for Sri Lankan cricket (wish they chose a different name for the tourney though) and will give a stage to many of the aspiring youth of the country. Sri Lanka has the highest number of centrally contracted cricketers in the world so this trounament will further strengthen the proffessional game here. Good luck

  • Aaryabhatta on August 22, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Good job SLPL.....cricket werever n in wtever form is njoyable...best wishes lanka frm India

  • on August 22, 2012, 5:33 GMT

    actually SLPL is really interesting tournament,it has the best quality when considering other same type of tournaments,SLPL will be more popular un upcoming years!!

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    There's noting like "Quality of Cricket" in T-20. T-20 is a batsmen's game and it will always be. Fans want to see 4s and 6s in an ideal T-20 match (especially in domestic tournaments like Big Bash, IPL etc.) If you want to see Good Battle between Ball and Bat, Go and watch Test Cricket. T-20 is not for you ! In a T-20, if a bowler is making life difficult for batsmen and restricting them from scoring runs, picking wickets then yes Credit should be given to that bowler but by norms of T-20 it should called as "Poor T-20 match" as batsmen are suppose to dominate here but they failed to do so.

  • diehard-sl-fan on August 22, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Well said, Cpt.Meanster, Pls don't compare IPL with SLPL.Please note this one day SLPL will be the most popular all over the world.b coz v r just out from the 30yrs civil war.so v don't have enough ground for the home team to attract crowds.Definitely it will be going to be huge success in coming years.Try to appreciate it, coz v have close relationship wit ur country. Please don't be jealous.God will help us.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    @ WickyRoy.paklover - Just like Imran Khan (of SL), some Hindu / Sikh Cricketers too can be seen in different U-19 teams (which doesn't happen quite often). Liton Das and Soumya Sarkar (in Bangladesh), Gurinder Sandhu (in Australia), Ish Sodhi (NZ), Aneesh Kapil (Eng). That actually surprised me. Glad to see minorities getting their right in at least Cricket.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 22, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    @ amilag - At least be honest in your comments. Check yourself who started first comparing to IPL. It was "GerrardLK", certainly not an Indian fan. If he says something against IPL, obviously there would be equal and opposite reaction. Btw, I'm a die hard Indian Team and Cricket fan in general. So I'm following SLPL too. Wayamba is easily The Best team of SLPL. And boy ! Poor Dilshan he looks so frustrated when things don't go in his favour as a captain.

  • LMalinga on August 22, 2012, 1:37 GMT

    some indians here talking about the quality of the IPL.6 of the first 7 ranked bowlers in T20I are playing in SLPL when IPL only featuring one of them.Also 5 of the best 10 ranked batsmans in T20I rankings playing SLPL as well.3 of the first 5 Ranked t20 allrounders playing SLPL.What more you guys expecting?

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 21, 2012, 23:28 GMT

    I don't understand why the IPL is dragged meaninglessly by the author of this article. DUH ! We all know the SLPL can NEVER match the IPL. As long as the SLPL satisfies the ordinary Sri Lankan cricket lover, that should suffice. The IPL is watched by millions of Indians and we love it. Same goes for the SLPL. This is just the first year. I am sure it will be pick up gear in coming editions. As an Indian I have a positive and balanced view of this tournament. Unlike some Sri Lankans and Indian fans who come here with poisoned notions and foolish banter. God bless T20 cricket !!

  • SLMaster on August 21, 2012, 20:32 GMT

    Despite many obstacles good to see that youngters are getting an opportunity to compete. Good to see the nature of the SLPL setup: short, balanced, and to the point of quality of cricket. I hope it is kept to this standard.

  • cricmonstor on August 21, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    Please don't compare Sri Lanka with India. As we all know India is at least 50 times larger (Population, Total GDP and Area) than Sri Lanka. We should thank Indians for sponsoring SLPL. Sri Lanka is the best place to see best of Indian and Pakistani cricketers (Neutral Venue) and supporters can travel with minimum visa restrictions. I am sure SLPL2 would be a hit.

  • amilag on August 21, 2012, 18:50 GMT

    why indian fans are coming and commenting SLPL and comparing it with IPL. None of their players playing here and they do not have any business here.Please let cricket lovers enjoy it and IPL fans can look after their own business. Don't be afraid even though IPL is spreading law quality cricket in highways of India, it will survive due to their crazy but big audience.

  • Vibhanu on August 21, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Indians should remember Indians had its downfalls in IPL 2nd seasons after being out in the first round in 2007 world cup.As I remember 3rd and 4th seosons didn't success either because Indians didn't perform well in 2009 and 2010 t20 world cups.Indians havn't won a t20 world cup since they started ipl.Ipl 5 succeeded mainly because indians had won 2011 world cup.Whatever people have been able to watch good cricket because most of the cricketers(specially bowlers) are talented in Srilanka than majority of Indian cricketers.(Indian bowlers being hammered by chris gayle in every tournement.Have Indians ever produced complete bowlers as Srilanka have?)

  • on August 21, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    @ indianzen - it doesnt have to be an IPL, it doesnt have to have the glitz and glamour with superstars. Its where our local boys play they play with alot of heart. People whom we have never ever heard of playi

  • DhakaDevils14 on August 21, 2012, 17:55 GMT

    It amazes me dat the winner 4m SLPL will play in CLT20, but the winner 4m BPL wont... this is realy sad, bcoz Dhaka Gladiators is a very well balanced team with a lot of game changers, n better than most teams in SLPL

  • 9ST9 on August 21, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    isn't it a bit childish to compare the SLPL crowd attendances and fan following with the IPL? For god's sakes India has 60 times the population of SL, and Indian fans follow cricket religiously. Sri Lankans are more in for the fun side of it. Would you see Indian fans dancing and singing even when they are losing?

    It will not be big as IPL, and there's no need for it to be. But i don't think it's a failure as some Indians think. The pitches (esp pallekele) are good , and given a couple of years, and decent administration this would turn out to be a decent event.

  • snj_perera on August 21, 2012, 17:37 GMT

    Crowds are really improving in number... We had loads of fun yesterday... only a little spaces in the grass embankment & few empty seats were there for yesterday's night game... Hope a fully packed ground for next couple of games

  • WickyRoy.paklover on August 21, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    @just chill chill,thanks 4 giftng ths joke as a eid present of me,please make some changes in it,it should b lets hope "india produces half as good cricketr as imran khan " bt i tel u honestly it seems most unlikely though,inspite of being a country 6 times greatr than pak in terms of populatn.

  • indianzen on August 21, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    fans on the rise? funny head line... for all the people comparing this thing with IPL - Time to read newspapers.. ha ha... this is another BPL. failure premiere leagues unlike IPL...

  • on August 21, 2012, 16:22 GMT

    We Are Watching SLPL...We LoveIt!!

  • on August 21, 2012, 16:17 GMT

    At last good to see a critique of the tournament. These league systems for sports around the world really helping the professional players to grow themselves and establish. SLPL does not want to be a IPL, BPL or Big bash. it need to be SLPL.. I was also bit pessimistic about before and even the early days of SLPL about it.. But, honestly this tournament is taking its own form. But only thing that need to be avoided at this moment is the too much replications from some where else in the world. Let it grow.. let it take its own face and let players like Akila, Munaweera, etc.. step their way to the national squad to make the selection competitive. Then only the sport as a profession can grow. Cheers!!!

  • just_chill_chill on August 21, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    @getsetgopk Well hope that at least this Imran Khan turns out to be a decent self-respecting cricketer.

  • on August 21, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    Really good article. you can't compare different leagues, IPL,Big Bash etc. it's show business. but a tourney like this gives local players the limelight to shine and will popularize the sport even more here

  • tgr999 on August 21, 2012, 14:29 GMT

    India is 60 times bigger than Sri Lanka and has a huge population maybe 100times than sri lanka..so we can expect such a lot of fans to attend slpl matches because of many reasons like

    Slpl is organised for the first time.

    It is not played in home grounds of the most of the teams due to lack of stadiums.

    Sri lanka presently facing a hard time economically.

    Slpl being critised by many medias including local and foreign.

    The aborted tournament too a has caused harm to the good name of the tournament.

    As slpl is new and most of the local players are inexpirienced and needs more exposure to play good cricket.. because of all these reasons slpl's progression is slow and we cant expect slpl to get such a huge popularity as ipl in its very first season probably a couple of tight matches and good news about the league in foreign and social media can boost it in very quick time..

  • Extraz on August 21, 2012, 14:28 GMT

    A Pak fan here...Great going SLPL i have been watching most of the matches and enjoying them a lot, all teams are balanced and have good players so we are seeing competitive matches but i don't understand 1 thing that why are the lankans not coming to the grounds to watch these matches?...most of the grounds are like half empty!...anyways best wishes to SLPL and Sri lanka.

  • zinuk222 on August 21, 2012, 14:00 GMT

    We can't compared IPL to SLPL or BPL . IPL is full of Superstar, entertainment, Money. Desprite India is a huge country( over 100 crore people) and rich board but they can't produce International talent but very few like kohli,raina. On the other hand SL and PAk has produced lot of young talent but they are not as rich as India. that's why India is ruling over other boards. It's not fare. Due to india didn't sent their player to SLPL and injury occured otherwise it would be better league.

  • baghels.a on August 21, 2012, 13:44 GMT

    @GerradLK,without Indian bussinessmen owning 5 of the franchises there woudn't be a SLPL,having said that SLPL is good especially for SL youngsters.

  • Eat_Sleep_Play_Cricket on August 21, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    @GerrardLK: LOL. Dude you need to watch more cricket and trust me you will start appreciating cricket outside the island. Good luck.

  • lankavigi on August 21, 2012, 13:12 GMT

    Slpl no where near to the ipl but close to the bpl!!!!!

  • Thushaa on August 21, 2012, 13:11 GMT

    For more sensible discussion, i think we have to talk about the article. The writer himself writes, "the tournament has failed to attract decent crowds, and has largely been boycotted by the local media who have opposed it for being 'too Indian' ", I dont think there was any such boycott from the local media, as the writer is soo trying to emphasize, and the crowds have been fairly good as i have followed this from India. As a cricket lover, i think Mr.Fernando should look at the positives and talent , rather than taking out the petty issues and politics, and start a article. "considering the sheer number of complications the SLPL has suffered since....", so what league has not suffered complications. Why should we hop on the complications, when the SLPL is up and running smooth. The writer should look into the sheer talent and write , at lease start.

    cheers.

  • on August 21, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    Tournament is not big as IPL coz ri Lanka is a small country but the quality wise its good as any..Pitches are brilliant in Kandy.Certainly a lot bigger event than BPL..(value of a one team is higher than the whole value of all BPL teams combined)..I think its up there with Big bash and will get better in next 2,3 years.Also great to see Akila..he is awesome

  • serious-am-i on August 21, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    I haven't seen any SLPL match so far but if a league has to prosper they must realize they need to form their own rules as well not copycat other leagues. IPL and BBL have total different rules. Where as when u compare other Asian leagues BPL or SLPL they seem to be children of IPL with copycat rules. @GerrardLK: Yeah dream on.Its funny to watch a tournament which is a copy cat of IPL. Where did u get the strategic time out from ? IPL started it & now u r using it lol. Who is the tournament sponsor ? Its Indian written everywhere on this SLPL, its the reason local media boycotted. @Farrukh.91.: How many grounds is the SLPL held in compared to IPL ? May be u missed the larger grounds in India ?

  • Uppercut07 on August 21, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    considering the evenly matched games between bat & ball, the quality of cricket is way better than IPL. Guess dats cus, matches r not played on 'highways' like in IPL, no mindless bashing of bowlers with 200+ scores. Great balance and good contest!!!

  • Sinhaya on August 21, 2012, 12:22 GMT

    @counterstrike1.6, I hope Mahela's plays for Wayamba. Regarding crowd, Pallekelle crowd is far better than Colombo. So lately grounds were at least 50% full. India is a super power in cricket, so cant compare SLPL with IPL. Hope Pakistan comes out with a great PPL should they start one soon.

  • Sinhaya on August 21, 2012, 12:17 GMT

    @getsetgopk. bro there are people by the name Khan in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka there are Muslims just like Farveez Mahroof. You know there are many Imran Khans in the world if you type the name on google.There is a South African cricketer who played a solitary test for SA in 2009 named Imran Khan too.

  • AmjadZork on August 21, 2012, 11:15 GMT

    Hail SLPL............. !!!

  • DeathKnell on August 21, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    @GerrardLK - loud mouth has created wonders in the past.. dont you know... if u wud like to know, just check the recent ODI results between SL & Ind.

  • amilag on August 21, 2012, 10:36 GMT

    Crowds are improving. Good cricket is being played. Nice wickets and big grounds has created good contest between bat and ball. Many youngster are grabbing opportunity to register their identity in International cricket. BELIEVE IT OR NOT ITS BECOMING ONE OF THE BEST T20 LEAGUE ON THE PLANET!! WELL DONE S..L...P...L....

  • on August 21, 2012, 10:34 GMT

    SLPL will Gonna Rock World t20... its for sure !!!

  • Sakthiivel on August 21, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Yup it create own identity by making all the defaced issues. One and only of this kind anyway.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 21, 2012, 10:27 GMT

    Just a que. n I hope only sensible members reply to it. If Wayamba qualifies for CL 20 then which team Mahela will play for ? DD or Wayamba itself ? Coz last to last time Ross Taylor played for RCB despite the fact that his own team from NZ was playing in CL 20 league.

  • Professor.Biscuit.Khan on August 21, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    @ GerrardLK - Its apparent that you don't like IPL. Quality of Cricket is better than IPL ? lol IPL has produced likes of Kohli, Umesh Yadav and Ashwin ! We will see what SLPL has to offer. Btw, SLPL doesn't even qualify to get compared to IPL and as for now SLPL can not be compared to BPL either. And we are all seeing how "Good" the crowd is lol Not even 25% seats getting occupied. Shame ! mate, Learn to respect others if you want to get respected.

  • zinuk222 on August 21, 2012, 9:01 GMT

    SLPL is a good platform for SL young player to show their talent. It is also good for foreign player to perform here becoz T20 WC will be here. SL cricket board should take decision against IPL by not giving player permission to go their, unless india sent thier player SLPL. I hope IPL, BPL, SLPL all will be successful and produce lot of local talent.

  • Farrukh.91. on August 21, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    the matches overall have been good; the pitches are supporting, the boundaries are not very short (60-65m, as in IPL), thus providing much better balance between bat and ball!

  • CKfrombrisbane on August 21, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    What identity ? Uva Rudras does not have players from their province. This is silly. At least few players from the province need to be added to their province team. That's how it can become the team of the province. THAT'S WHY NO ONE WANT TO GO AND HAVE A LOOK MATCHES.

  • GerrardLK on August 21, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    SLPL is millions time better than IPL in terms of standard of Cricket. Very soon SLPL will wipe off the the cheap, glamour Bollywood IPL

  • Thushaa on August 21, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    hmm..not a very articulate article by the write..May be he is new to this kind of narrative. I thought this would have been more technical and more objective. Anyway nice thoughts abut the progress of the tournament and the matches..Young players coming up in the local arena and even internationally will get a real chance to break free and market themselves.I have to note the commentators are doing a really classy job, Dean Jones n Co. are a class act. Andrew Fernando should learn from the Indian writers and learn to appreciate the game more.

    PS:Anyway as a Non-Resident indian, so donno if my comments will be put out.

  • Herath-UK on August 21, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    I was fortunate to be at the RP stadium on the second day to feel the real buzz but now very much compensated by seeing the live action in full in an UK channel.I quite agree in spite of controversies,Sri Lanka is slowly but surely making its own identity in a big way.Dean Jones and Jeff Thompson identifying the Pallekele pitch with its bounce and seam as one of the best in the world is heartening and Pallekele has stamped its mark.However some local franchises should be in the fray for the SLPL to get local media and full public support and to make a long lasting effect and I'm sure SLC will look into this seriously very soon. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • diehard-sl-fan on August 21, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    Thanks Mr. Andrew Fernando to supporting the SLPL in the higher level and for your article.This is what i need for my country.In the coming years it's going to be most exciting & popular all over the world.Thank god to help SLC for organizing this international level tournament.Again thank you Mr. A Fernando.Good Luck SLPL.

  • on August 21, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Good Read. Heartening to see the support Wayamba got last night. I think one of the SLPL's future plans should be to take the game to the other parts of the country as well. Imagine Wayamba had a game somewhere closer to home - there would have been bigger support.

  • LoveLanka on August 21, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Good column by Andrew Fernando. hasn't tried to paint it (SLPL) in white or like a rainbow, which we all want to see for the success of SLPL. It is true that behind the scene is indians, They are here to do business and i don't think they have any need to sabotage SL cricket. It is the duty of SLC board to keep a proper control over the events so as to keep SL domestic cricket on right track. i think SLPL doesn't need the attention of people who complain and try to sabotage. this will help our young players who was playing behind the bush to come forward and perform in the Int'l arena. to feel the pressure of a live broadcast, and to know that the way thery perform is seen by thousands around the world, which will make them to lift up their game, unlike when they play in a domestic tournament with no one watching in the ground or in TV (as it happend before SLPL). so all i want to see is the youngsters grab this wonderful chance and develop their skills for sake of future SL cricket.

  • on August 21, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    SLPL don not want to be a follower of IPL.. We can see it from Malinga, a Top player in IPL but he is not doing it in SLPL he is yet just only a captain.. Bangladeshi and Pakistan players are really firing at SLPL.. its really nice to see and it will help them to succeed in T20 WC..

  • getsetgopk on August 21, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I would like to know more about that SL bowler by the name of "Imran Khan". Who is that guy and whats with the name?

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • getsetgopk on August 21, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    I would like to know more about that SL bowler by the name of "Imran Khan". Who is that guy and whats with the name?

  • on August 21, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    SLPL don not want to be a follower of IPL.. We can see it from Malinga, a Top player in IPL but he is not doing it in SLPL he is yet just only a captain.. Bangladeshi and Pakistan players are really firing at SLPL.. its really nice to see and it will help them to succeed in T20 WC..

  • LoveLanka on August 21, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Good column by Andrew Fernando. hasn't tried to paint it (SLPL) in white or like a rainbow, which we all want to see for the success of SLPL. It is true that behind the scene is indians, They are here to do business and i don't think they have any need to sabotage SL cricket. It is the duty of SLC board to keep a proper control over the events so as to keep SL domestic cricket on right track. i think SLPL doesn't need the attention of people who complain and try to sabotage. this will help our young players who was playing behind the bush to come forward and perform in the Int'l arena. to feel the pressure of a live broadcast, and to know that the way thery perform is seen by thousands around the world, which will make them to lift up their game, unlike when they play in a domestic tournament with no one watching in the ground or in TV (as it happend before SLPL). so all i want to see is the youngsters grab this wonderful chance and develop their skills for sake of future SL cricket.

  • on August 21, 2012, 8:04 GMT

    Good Read. Heartening to see the support Wayamba got last night. I think one of the SLPL's future plans should be to take the game to the other parts of the country as well. Imagine Wayamba had a game somewhere closer to home - there would have been bigger support.

  • diehard-sl-fan on August 21, 2012, 8:25 GMT

    Thanks Mr. Andrew Fernando to supporting the SLPL in the higher level and for your article.This is what i need for my country.In the coming years it's going to be most exciting & popular all over the world.Thank god to help SLC for organizing this international level tournament.Again thank you Mr. A Fernando.Good Luck SLPL.

  • Herath-UK on August 21, 2012, 8:39 GMT

    I was fortunate to be at the RP stadium on the second day to feel the real buzz but now very much compensated by seeing the live action in full in an UK channel.I quite agree in spite of controversies,Sri Lanka is slowly but surely making its own identity in a big way.Dean Jones and Jeff Thompson identifying the Pallekele pitch with its bounce and seam as one of the best in the world is heartening and Pallekele has stamped its mark.However some local franchises should be in the fray for the SLPL to get local media and full public support and to make a long lasting effect and I'm sure SLC will look into this seriously very soon. Ranil Herath - Kent

  • Thushaa on August 21, 2012, 8:45 GMT

    hmm..not a very articulate article by the write..May be he is new to this kind of narrative. I thought this would have been more technical and more objective. Anyway nice thoughts abut the progress of the tournament and the matches..Young players coming up in the local arena and even internationally will get a real chance to break free and market themselves.I have to note the commentators are doing a really classy job, Dean Jones n Co. are a class act. Andrew Fernando should learn from the Indian writers and learn to appreciate the game more.

    PS:Anyway as a Non-Resident indian, so donno if my comments will be put out.

  • GerrardLK on August 21, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    SLPL is millions time better than IPL in terms of standard of Cricket. Very soon SLPL will wipe off the the cheap, glamour Bollywood IPL

  • CKfrombrisbane on August 21, 2012, 8:53 GMT

    What identity ? Uva Rudras does not have players from their province. This is silly. At least few players from the province need to be added to their province team. That's how it can become the team of the province. THAT'S WHY NO ONE WANT TO GO AND HAVE A LOOK MATCHES.

  • Farrukh.91. on August 21, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    the matches overall have been good; the pitches are supporting, the boundaries are not very short (60-65m, as in IPL), thus providing much better balance between bat and ball!