No KJP, Mathews, Chandimal & DDS for LPL 2021

Sri Lanka’s premier T20 League will take place without the immediate past captain, the vice-captain named for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, and a couple of most senior active cricketers in the country.

In contrary, 35-year-old Gihan Rupasinghe, who has only 56 T20s under his belt, Sacha Seneviratne, who has not played a single professional T20, and Udara Jayasundera, who played 2 Tests for Sri Lanka and has a T20 average of 19 and strike rate of 106 have attracted buyers. Well, that sure is an interesting player draft.

However, superstar of global T20 leagues, Chris Gayle will be in action in the 2nd edition of Lanka Premier League as the Universe Boss has been picked by the Colombo Stars franchise.

The 5-team tournament will be played from the 5th to 23rd of December. The teams are as follows,

Colombo Stars

The Colombo based franchise had a change in ownership and will compete under their new name, Colombo Stars. The franchise acquired a few exceptional T20 cricketers both local and overseas.

As mentioned already, Chris Gayle will be representing Colombo Stars in the tournament. Alongside Gayle, they have some exciting batting power in Ahmed Shehzad of Pakistan and the local hard-hitters Dilshan Munaweera and Seekkuge Prasanna.

They also have the extra pace from their Icon player Dushmantha Chameera and the 7-footer Mohommad Irfan from Pakistan.

Colombo Stars Squad:

Chris Gayle (West Indies)
Dushmatha Chameera
Ahamed Shehzad (Pakistan)
Dilshan Munaweera
Mohamed Irfan (Pakistan)
Al Amin Hossain (Bangladesh)
Pathum Nissanka
Lakshan Sandakan
Seekuge Prasanna
Manpreet Singh (India)
Gihan Rupasinghe
Taskin Ahamed (Bangladesh)
Lahiru Gamage
TM Sampath
Nuwanidu Fernando
Jehan Daniel
Malindu Maduranga
Nalin Priyadarshana
Hashan Dumindu
Kanagarathnam Kapilraj

The last year’s runners up are the only franchise that comes into the tournament without a change in the ownership.

Their line-up includes a few big names of present day T20 cricket in Sri Lanka in the likes of Isuru Udana – the Local Icon of the team -, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis.

They also have valuable experience in their retained Pakistani duo, Mohammad Amir and Sarfaraaz Ahmed.

Their new buys, Tabraiz Shamzi, Samit Patel & Anwar Ali, who are all cricketers in-demand for T20s, make them look stronger on paper than last year.

Galle Gladiators Squad:

Mohamed Hafeez (Pakistan)
Isuru Udana
Bhanuka Rajapaksa
Danushka Gunatilleke
Kusal Mendis
Sarfraaz Ahamed (Pakistan)
Mohamed Aamir (Pakistan)
Tabraiz Shamsi (South Africa)
Dhananjaya Lakshan
Samit Patel (England)
Pulina Tharanga
Anwar Ali (Pakistan)
Nuwan Thushara
Lahiru Madushanka
Dilshan Madushanka
Ashain Daniel
Kevin Koththigoda
Mohommad Shamaaz
Suminda Lakshan
Angelo Jayasinghe

The team led by Sri Lanka present T20 skipper Dasun Shanaka brought some unique cricketers around the world into this tournament.

Players like Joshua Little from Ireland, Odean Smith from West Indies and Najibullah Zadran of Afghanistan are all lesser known cricketers with huge impact on the game.

South African duo Rilee Rossouw and Imran Tahir look by far the most seasoned campaigners in the squad while some of the local fresh legs like Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Udara and Tharindu Ratnayake should be interesting to watch.

Dambulla Giants squad:

Niroshan Dickwella
Chamika Karunaratne
Dasun Shanaka
Imran Tahir (South Africa)
Ramesh Mendis
Rilee Rossouw (South Africa)
Sohaib Maqsood (Pakistan)
Odean Smith (West Indies)
Joshua Little (Ireland)
Nuwan Pradeep
Najibullah Zadran (Afghanistan)
Tharindu Ratnayake
Lahiru Udara
Sacha Senaviratne
Muditha Lakshan
Kalana Perera
Sachitha Jayathilake
Madushan Ravichandrakumar
Janith Liyanage
Chamikara Edirisinghe

Even though the Kandy based franchise do not have any big names in their international purchases, they got some exciting young talents in their local bunch.

Players like Charith Asalanka, Lahiru Kumara, Ishan Jayaratne and Kamindu Mendis have been outstanding in local competitions in the recent past.

A couple of interesting buys in Amjad Khan of Denmark and the uncapped Bangladeshi fast bowler Mehdi Hassan Rana adds a flavour of mystery to their side.

Kandy Warriors squad:

Rovman Powell (West Indies)
Charith Asalanka
Asela Gunaratne
Lahiru Kumara
Cameron Delport (South Africa)
Mohamed Mithun (Bangladesh)
Nazmul Islam (Bangladesh)
Mehdi Hassan Rana (Bangladesh)
Angelo Perera
MilInda Siriwardena
Amjad Khan (Denmark)
Ishan Jayaratne
Binura Fernando
Kamindu Mendis
Kamil Mishara
Ayana Siriwardena
Nimesh Vimukthi
Udara Jayasundara
Shashika Dilshan
Kalhara Senaratne

The defending champions too had a change in their names and ownership this year. Competing under the name of Jaffna Kings, they still managed to secure a few of their core players from the last year’s winning team.

Being led by the same captain, Thisara Perera, the team retained players like Wanindu Hasaranga, Chathuranga de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Avishika Fernando and Usman Shinwari.

With a good mix of youth and experience, local and international talents, Jaffna seems like the toughest team on paper.

The new purchases like Upul Tharanga, Wahab Riaz and Mr Reliable, Faf du Plessis, makes them easily one of the most experienced sides of the tournament.

Jaffna Kings squad:

Shoaib Malik (Pakistan)
Faf Du Plessis (South Africa)
Thisara Perera
Wahab Riaz (Pakistan)
Avishka Fernando
Maheesh Theekshana
Wanindu Hasaranga
Usman Shinwari (Pakistan)
Rahmanulla Gurbaaz (Afghanistan)
Chathuranga de Silva
Upul Tharanga
Jayden Seales (West Indies)
Suranga Lakmal
Ashen Bandara
Chamika Gunasekara
Vijayakanth Viyaskanth
Theivendiram Dinoshan
Rathnarajah Thenurathan
Ashan Randika
Krishan Sanjula

This tournament is a great opportunity for the uncapped talent in Sri Lanka. This year too there are a host of youngsters waiting to put their best foot forward during this grand tournament. Here is the list of uncapped cricketers who will take part in the LPL 2021. (The Papare)

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