The format of Twenty20 is undoubtedly the glamor queen of cricket in the 21st century. Since its official introduction in the year 2004, it continued to enthrall the fans of the sport. With the passage of time, T20 grew in terms of colors, charm and entertainment quotient. Of course, it might not have been possible without the game changer Indian connection back in the year 2008. The Lanka Premier League (LPL) is the latest addition in this carnival of T20. Most importantly, LPL is not scarce of the Indian count in itself.
The shortest format of the game at international cricket burst into eternal fame on a magical evening of 18 April 2008, when the concept of franchise T20 league made its first headline with the launch of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
T20 cricket did not have to look back after this moment. Instead, it went on to conquer the cricket calendar. It started replacing the slots earlier reserved for ODIs, and even test cricket! To mark the peak, the ICC T20 World Cup 2020 saw itself postponed by a year to make way for the 13th edition of IPL.
Flagship T20 Leagues
Today, almost every top nation who plays cricket, has its own franchise T20 league. Following the groundbreaking success of IPL, Cricket Australia transformed its domestic T20 structure into the cash-rich KFC Big Bash League (BBL). In addition, a list of new flagship tournaments saw daylight across the last decade, including:
- Pakistan Super League (PSL)
- Caribbean Super League (CPL)
- Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)
- Mzansi Super League (MSL), South Africa
- Vitality T20 Blast, England
- Super Smash, New Zealand
Lanka Premier League, 2020
The cricket-crazy nation of Sri Lanka had to face a few bouncers on this context. In fact, the Sri Lanka Cricket board organized the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) in the year 2012. But, lack of interest from sponsors forced this tournament to be scrapped after just one season.
Since then, there was no franchise T20 league in Sri Lanka. The Lankan fans rather had to wait each year to see their countrymen represent random cities in foreign leagues.
Finally, the tables have turned in favor of these fans. In other words, a fresh franchise T20 league, named the Lanka Premier League (LPL) has took off last Friday evening at the Sri Lankan island.
A total of five Lankan cities will battle it out in search of the league title. There will be a total of 23 games to be played between 27 November and the finale on 16 December 2020. The complete season will take place at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota.
Here is a compilation of the 5 franchises taking part in Lanka Premier Legaue 2020:
- Colombo Kings led by Angelo Mathews
- Dambulla Viiking led by Dasun Shanaka
- Galle Gladiators led by Shahid Afridi
- Jaffna Stallions led by Thisara Perera
- Kandy Tuskers led by Kusal Perera
Above all, this tournament will be sponsored by My11Circle, an Indian fantasy cricket platform, that has Sourav Ganguly, the president of Indian cricket board as its brand ambassador!
Not only that, most of the teams have Indian connection in terms of ownership too. Bollywood actor Sohail Khan, also the brother of Salman Khan, owns Kandy Tuskers. Similarly, Dambulla Viiking is owned by Sachiin Joshi, another Indian actor. Murfad Mustafa, an Indian businessman from Dubai bought the team from Colombo. On the other hand, Rahul Sood, an US-based techie from Indian origin owns Jaffna Stallions.
Indian Cricketers in LPL 2020
Indian cricket players do not play any other T20 franchise league apart from the IPL. In fact, the Indian cricket administration has been stringent about binding its players to the flagship Indian league exclusively. To clarify, it takes permanent retirement from all official forms of cricket in India for a player to be eligible for participation in a foreign T20 league.
Hence, only a handful of Indian cricketers could be seen in the past, playing in foreign T20 leagues. For example, former Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh took part at the Global T20 Canada last year following the same procedure. In addition, the evergreen leg spinner Pravin Tambe featured in the CPL 2020 a few months ago.
But, the LPL 2020 is all set to see four Indian players sweating it out for their respective teams. In fact, the initial count was five. However, Manvinder Bisla, the hero of IPL 2012 finale pulled out of the tournament a month before the start of the tournament.
In the next page, we will find out the final list of four Indian cricketers to feature in the LPL 2020.