Despite BCCI Snub, Indian Business Houses Buy Up All SLPL Franchises
Indian business enterprises showed keen interest in the inaugural edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) and bought all the seven contesting franchises on offer, even as the BCCI decided not to allow its players to participate in the Twenty20 league.
Last year too the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) had prohibited its players from participating in the league, which forced the Sri Lanka Cricket authority (SLC) to abort the opening season of the SLPL.
While Wadhawan Holdings shelled out the highest bid — $5.02 million — for Wayamba, Number One Sports Consulting offered a bid of $4.98 million for Kandurata.
The Uva and Ruhuna went to Success Sports and Pearl Overseas respectively for an amount of $4.6 million.
Basnahira was bought by Indian Cricket Dundee at $4.33 million, while Uthura at $3.4 million went to Rudra Sports.
Varun Beverages, meanwhile, spent $3.22 million for Nagenahira.
The prices of the franchises represent a substantial increase over the cost of teams in the Bangladesh Premier League, where six teams were sold for $6.49 million, with none of them going for much more than the base price of $1 million. However, the figures still pale in comparison to the IPL, which had its first eight teams bring in $723 million.
One crucial difference between the SLPL and the IPL is that the teams have only been leased for an initial period of seven years and not sold outright. At the end of the period, the franchisees will need to sign a fresh agreement but will have the first right of refusal. The reserve price for the franchises had been set at $3 million.
In order to determine the teams, the franchises will take part in the player draft, to be held on July 5 and 6. A lottery will be held to determine the order in which players are picked. SLC will determine the value of the contract for each player in advance and the franchises will be made aware of the cost of the player.
The players are likely to be drafted in two groups – the first consisting of players from Sri Lanka and the second all 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 franchises will be allowed a maximum of 18 players, including six foreign cricketers, for registration. However, a team can play only two foreigners in the playing eleven which must also include a Sri Lanka Under 23 player.
The SLPL was supposed to kick off last year. However, the Sri Lankan board was forced to postpone the tournament after the BCCI refused to allow its players to participate at the last minute, causing a delay in the naming of the final composition of the teams and affecting overall preparations for the event.
In addition, SLC’s interim committee that signed the deal was subsequently replaced and there was criticism of some of the clauses in the contract with Somerset Entertainment Ventures by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE). A new contract was subsequently signed earlier this year.
The debut edition of the SLPL is scheduled to commence on August 10, with the final to be held on August 31. There will be 24 games in total, split between Colombo and Kandy, Pallekele Stadium.