Munaf Patel, Gayle, Afridi among overseas players for LPL auction

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Former India pacer Munaf Patel and West Indians Chris Gayle and Daren Sammy are among 150-odd overseas players to go under the hammer for the inaugural Lanka Premier League auction to be held on October 1.

Former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi, Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan, another West Indian Darren Bravo, England’s Ravi Bopara and South Africans Colin Munro and Vernon Philander have also been included for the auction.

Five franchises will play in the inaugural edition of LPL which is scheduled to run from November 14 to December 6. The tournament was to be held in August but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.

Patel, 37, retired from all forms of cricket in 2018 after playing in 13 Tests, 70 ODIs and three T20Is. He made his debut in 2006 and was a member of India’s 2011 World Cup-winning team. He had earlier played in the T10 League in the UAE.

Each franchise can buy up to six international players. A total of 30 international cricketers and 65 local cricketers are expected to make up the five teams which will have 19 players each.

The matches will be played in Dambulla, Pallekele and Hambantota international stadiums. The LPL launch will be held in Hambantota.

However, the Sri Lankan government is yet to give approval for a shorter quarantine period for players, officials and broadcast staff. It is this hurdle that had forced the postponement of the LPL, originally slated to begin in late August.

The SLC officials have asked for a shorter quarantine period of seven days for those arriving in the country for this tournament, from the present 14-day period.

Quarantine protocols in Sri Lanka are very strict in order to prevent the spread of the virus.