Sri Lanka to auction cricketers for virus-delayed league

Lanka Premier League, LPL, coronavirus
Colombo (AFP): Sri Lanka cricket board will auction some 150 players next month, including international stars, for the five teams that will make up the virus-delayed premier league, officials said Friday.

The 23-match Lanka Premier League (LPL), originally due in August, will now be played from November 14 to December 6, with matches in Dambulla, Kandy and Hambantota.

"The player auction of the LPL will be held on October 1," the board said in a statement.

Five teams named after the Sri Lankan cities of Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna, will take part.

Sri Lanka Cricket said 30 foreigners including Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Darren Bravo, Shahid Afridi and Shakib Al Hasan will play in the tournament.

"Each franchise can buy up to six international players," the board said.

The five teams will consist of 30 international cricketers and 65 local players.

The LPL was due to start on August 28 but was postponed after health authorities insisted on lengthy quarantines for foreign players.

International cricket came to a halt in Sri Lanka on March 13. The visiting England team pulled out on the second day of a practice match ahead of their two-Test series as the coronavirus pandemic spread.

Since then, South Africa and Bangladesh have cancelled scheduled tours of Sri Lanka.