Colombo: Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle of the West Indies will star in Sri Lanka’s inaugural Twenty20 league in August, the cricket board said on Friday.
The duo are among 56 foreign players listed to take part in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) to be held in Colombo and Pallekele from August 10-31, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
The tournament, which aims to emulate the success of the highly popular Indian Premier League (IPL), does not have any players from India or England on the list released by the board.
But the line-up includes a host of current, former and upcoming players from Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, the West Indies and South Africa.
Australian Ryan Harris, South Africa’s Richard Levi and Johan Botha, Misbah-ul-Haq and Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan and Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh feature in the list.
The foreign players will play alongside leading Sri Lankan stars like skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga for seven provincial franchise teams.
Unlike the televised players’ auctions in the IPL, the cricketers contracted to the SLPL were divided among the seven teams by a draft system that was held behind closed doors in Colombo on Thursday.
The cricket board has so far declined to name the owners of the seven franchises or the amount each player will receive for the 24-match tournament.
Recent media reports suggested that all seven franchises were bought by little-known Indian companies after organisers received lukewarm response from local firms.
It was unclear how many matches the 13 Pakistanis in the list will play since they are due to play a limited-overs series against Australia in the UAE from August 28 to September 10.