Islamabad: West Indies opener Chris Gayle and Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi have been named as the two international icon players for the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) that begins on August 10.
The presence of the duo, who will join five other Sri Lanka players as icons of their respective teams, lend the fledgling league some star power and have the potential to boost viewership.
Reports suggest that Gayle will represent Uva province, while Afridi will play for Nagenahira.
Last week, Sri Lanka Cricket auctioned the seven Sri Lanka Premier League teams for an average price of 4.3 million dollars, The Daily Times reports.
A number of Indian companies are believed to have successfully bid for teams in the SLPL, highlighting the lure of the franchise model in cricket’s largest market despite the BCCI’s reluctance to allow Indian players to participate.
The players will be drafted in two groups – the first consisting of players from Sri Lanka and the second, the foreign players.
The draft is being seen as the best way to ensure that players are evenly distributed among the teams, making it a level playing field.
The SLPL will run for three weeks, with the final to be held on August 31. There will be 24 games in total, split between Colombo and Pallekele.