Lanka Premier League (LPL)
History of Lanka Premier League (LPL)
The Lanka Premier League (LPL) is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in Sri Lanka. It was inaugurated in 2020 and is organized by Sri Lanka Cricket. The league was first proposed in 2018, but due to issues in the Sri Lankan board, it could not start till 2020. The league consists of various franchise teams representing different cities in Sri Lanka. Like other franchise-based T20 leagues worldwide, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Big Bash League (BBL), the LPL features a mix of local and international players. Here are its details.
The Lankan Premier League was inaugurated in 2020. A governing committee was set up to run the league by Sri Lanka Cricket, the organization in charge of all aspects of the competition. Ashley de Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka, is a governing council member. Innovative Production Group (IPG), a Dubai-based business with Indian ownership, received the marketing and organization rights to the LPL in 2020. The Lanka Premier League aims to boost the popularity of cricket in Sri Lanka and provide a platform for emerging talents to showcase their skills alongside some of the world’s most well-known cricketers.
In the first season, LPL management decided to play with five teams in the league. The league also helps to promote Sri Lanka as a destination for international cricket and tourism. Here is the team that participated in the LPL. (The team changes names and owners annually, but in this list, we include the franchise names and owners as per LPL 2023).
- Colombo Strikers (Owned by Sagar Khanna)
- Dambulla Aura (Owned by Viranjith Thambugala)
- Galle Titans (Owned by Nayana Wasalathilaka)
- Jaffna Kings (Owned by Lyca Mobile Owner Subaskaran Allirajah)
- B-Love Kandy (Owned by Omar Khan)
There was a draft system in the first two seasons, but after that, the Lanka Premier League began an auction to bring players into the franchise. With each side playing every other team twice and eight games in the league stage, the Lanka Premier League is still played in a double round-robin format. A total of 20 league games will be played between July 30 and August 15; after that, four more games will be played in an IPL-style playoff that consists of an elimination round, two qualifiers, and the championship game on August 20. For the final, a reserve day is scheduled for August 21. After the league stage, the top four teams advance to the playoffs.
Many Overseas owners bought teams in the league in the first two seasons. However, the unpredictable status of the Lanka Premier League and economic dissatisfaction forced most franchise owners to opt out of the league. Covid-19 made a great impact on the league as well as the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka. The unavailability of top international players due to ICC FTP is also a big factor for less interest of cricket fans in this league.
LPL Winners List
The Lanka Premier League has four seasons so far. Here is the list of winners
- 2020: Jaffna Stallions
- 2021: Jaffna Kings
- 2022: Jaffna Kings
- 2023: B-Love Kandy
Challenges and Controversies
LPL has been under the radar for various reasons throughout its history.
1. Late Start
The organizational and administrative structures needed to successfully launch and manage a new cricket league, an option not available in 2018. Coordination among various stakeholders, including regional teams, sponsors, and broadcasters, might have faced difficulties. Securing sufficient funding and sponsorships to launch and sustain the league might have been challenging. Ensuring financial viability and managing budgets for hosting an international event of this scale could have been problematic.
Organizing venues, managing schedules, and ensuring the necessary facilities and infrastructure could have posed significant logistical challenges. Arranging suitable time frames to accommodate domestic and international players and broadcasters might have been complicated. Stability and consistency in managing Sri Lanka Cricket and its relationships with governmental and non-governmental entities might have influenced the league’s planning and execution. Possible changes or instability in managing Sri Lanka Cricket might have impacted the league’s organization.
Finding a suitable window in the busy international cricket calendar to host the LPL without conflicting with other major cricket events, leagues, and tournaments. Ensuring the league and its structures comply with relevant local and international laws and regulations and addressing legal challenges or concerns. While there was anticipation and planning for the LPL in 2018, these challenges, among possibly others, contributed to the delay of the league’s launch until 2020.
2. Economic Crisis in Sri Lanka
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka in 2022 was the main reason behind the postponement of the 2022 LPL season. Foreign players had allegedly been obtained after a draft, and the competition was getting ready to start. The postponement was brought on by issues with securing sufficient sponsorship and declining franchise interest. The outcome of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis changed the league dates.
3. Gambling Company Bans
During the parliament adjournment debate on Sri Lanka Cricket’s 2022 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup expenses, sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe discussed the need to regulate Lanka Premier League franchise owners and sponsors. The 2023 Lanka Premier League included unlicensed foreign exchange trading platforms and gambling firms among its sponsors. According to Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, the minister of justice, B-Love Network, which owns the Kandy franchise, is outlawed in Sri Lanka.
4. Match Fixing Issues
In 2022, the Sri Lankan corruption ministry head started investigating corruption and match-fixing charges after a premium batsman reported such attempts. The player’s name was kept secret as the investigation underwent. However, there was nothing found. Similarly, Sri Lankan spinner Tharindu Ratnayake was investigated for corruption. After receiving a Watasapp message enticing him to engage in corrupt behavior during the Lanka Premier League, Ratnayake reported the approach. Ratnayake is a Colombo Kings player. Cricket officials claimed that although he had been accused of corrupt behavior, he had escaped punishment due to a lack of supporting evidence.
Prize Money and Other Rewards
The complete list of awards with prize money for the 2023 season is below.
- Winner: USD 100,000
- Runners-up: USD 50,000
- Highest run-scorer: USD 1,500
- Highest wicket-taker: USD 1,500
- Safe Hands of the Tournament: USD 1,000
- Emerging Player of the Tournament: USD 2,000
- Player of the Match in LPL 2023 Final: USD 2,500
- Player of the Tournament: USD 5,000
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