Colombo: Pakistan's Shahid Afridi and Chris Gayle of the West Indies will star in Sri Lanka's inaugural Twenty20 league next month, the cricket board said on Friday. The duo are among 56 foreign players listed to take part in the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) to be held in Colombo and Pallekele from August 10-31, Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
Gayle will be the highest paid player in the list at $100,000, while Afridi will get $50,000, according to a separate media release issued by the board late in the day. The other foreign players will receive salaries ranging from $10,000 to $35,000 for their efforts in the 24-match event.
The tournament, which aims to emulate the success of the highly popular Indian Premier League (IPL), does not have any players from India or England on the list released by the board. But the line-up includes a host of current, former and upcoming players from Pakistan, Australia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa.
Gayle is the highest paid player at $100,000, while Afridi will get $50,000.
Australian Ryan Harris, South Africa's Richard Levi and Johan Botha, Misbah-ul-Haq and Saeed Ajmal of Pakistan and Shakib Al-Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim and Tamim Iqbal of Bangladesh feature in the list. The foreign players will play alongside leading Sri Lankan stars like skipper Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga for seven provincial franchise teams.
Unlike the televised players' auctions in the IPL, the cricketers contracted to the SLPL were divided among the seven teams by a draft system that was held behind closed doors in Colombo on Thursday. The cricket board has so far declined to name the owners of the seven franchises, although recent media reports suggested they were all little-known Indian companies after organisers received lukewarm response from local firms.
It is unclear how many matches the 13 Pakistanis in the list will play since they are due to play a limited-overs series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates from August 28 to September 10.