LPL Season 4 to have IPL-style auction for the five squads
Babar Azam, David Miller, and Shakib Al Hasan are among the stars who have signed up ahead of the auction
Babar Azam, David Miller, Shakib Al Hasan and Wanindu Hasaranga are among the big stars already signed up for the fourth edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL), which will have a player auction this year, making it the third men's franchise league and fourth overall - after the IPL, SA20 and WPL - to have one.
The auction, where the five franchises will be allowed to spend a maximum of US$ 500,000 each, is scheduled for June 14*. The player registration portal was opened last week, and Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed that over 500 players have already registered. The tournament will run from July 30 to August 20.
An additional $500,000 was made available to the franchises for the direct signings prior to the auction, which took the total purse available for franchises up to $1 million - a sharp increase from the $350,000 in previous seasons.
Babar Azam, Shakib Al Hasan among direct signings
Here's a list of players who have already been signed up by the five franchises using the additional $500,000.
All players signed will be contracted for up to three years, with franchises getting the right to "retain or release players on mutual consent" at the end of every year. Slots created through player releases or non-availability will be filled through an annual mini-auction. Franchises will also be allowed to trade in specifically designated windows, though the exact details of this have not yet been released.
How the auction will work
Each team will have a squad for 20-24 players, inclusive of a mandatory six overseas players and 14-19 domestic players. As mentioned earlier, each team will have a purse of $500,000 at the auction. Any money not spent from the pre-signing kitty cannot be carried over to the auction. The teams will also have a right-to-match option for their players, and the money for that has to come from within the auction kitty.
Bidding will take place between two teams at any given time, with a third team allowed to join the bidding only once one of the first two teams has withdrawn from the process. An "accelerated" auction process will take place after the first 70 names have been presented for bidding. This process will see franchises nominate 15-20 players, including unsold players, who will go under the hammer.
IPL-style player categories, base prices
Players will be categorised into two groups - capped and uncapped. Each capped player will be able to register themselves under base prices ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 in $10,000 increments.
Uncapped players will be classed with a base price of $20,000 - those having played a minimum of 50 first-class matches; $10,000 - a minimum of 25 first-class matches, or a minimum of 18 matches in the LPL or any other equivalent T20 franchise league; and $5000 - those who do not meet any of the aforementioned criteria.
LPL to be played in its intended window for the first time
This will also be the first edition of the LPL to be held in its intended July-August window, with the first three iterations taking place in December - the first two times because of Covid-19, and the last time as a result of the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.
But, despite being in its fourth season, the tournament will still have just the five teams taking part. Of the five sides, two - Colombo Strikers and Kandy Falcons - have had changes in ownership this year, and the former has changed from Stars to Strikers.
And, unlike last year, this year's tournament will take place only in Colombo and Kandy, with the Hambantota leg scrapped.
Samantha Dodanwela, the tournament director, attributed the failure to include a sixth team - something being discussed since the conclusion of the first LPL - and the removal of games in Hambantota, to a shortened window created by Pakistan's tour to Sri Lanka, leading into the LPL, and the CPL, which begins four days before the LPL final.
"This year, the window was shortened because we will be playing Pakistan - we have to wait until that series is over - and then we have to release players for the Caribbean Premier League which will happen on the 25th [16th] of August," he explained.
Dodanwela added that another team could be added for the next edition of the tournament.
*The article was updated after SLC confirmed the LPL auction date.