Lankan Premier League: A Pathbreaker? | Sunday Observer

Lankan Premier League: A Pathbreaker?

8 November, 2020

Sri Lanka Cricket is about to create history. It’s slated to play their best stroke attempting to get the game of cricket back on turf in the country. And if SLC succeeds, then we are in for an unparalled feat and feast. LPL -- Lanka Premier League-- will become a household word.

The Lanka Premier League is a tournament akin to the Indian Premier League which gives the cricketers picked an opportunity to bring to the fore the best of talent via the various franchises. It will also provide a means to compensate the players with rich rewards and the advertisers to draw customers to their products. More importantly, it will help bring a new avenue for boosting the economy and if one does this well, to attract foreign advertising too.

Sri Lanka Cricket did their best to get Bangladesh to play here, but with the Bangladeshis attempting to dictate terms and refusing to tour according to the rules governing the dreaded Covid-19, SLC had no option, but to leave Bangladesh for another day.

The LPL is the first attempt that SLC is making in conducting a tournament of such magnitude and cricketers involved in the tournament, especially the Sri Lankan cricketers will heave a sigh of relief and hope that the action will be on turf in Hambantota where the games are slated to be played.

Although there has been a rise in the Covid-19 here in recent times, SLC is confident that they can go through with the tournament with the support of the Minister of Sports Namal Rajapaksa who has promised to help in its successful conclusion.

From the time the Hambantota Stadium was built it has come in for uncharitable criticism from critics, some of it justifiably. But its value will now be felt with the playing of the LPL matches at this picturesque venue.

While wishing SLC the best of luck and also for attracting some of the best cricketers in this style of playing, the one disappointment is that the big and ferocious hitting South African Abraham de Villiers will not be in action.

De Villiers has shown his terrific hitting prowess playing in the IPL where once he gets his eye in is a mauler of any type of bowling. He has strokes all round the wicket with marvelous timing and superb footwork and once the ball kisses the bat it rockets like a shot from a gun into the stands and over it.

Although he retired from playing international cricket in all forms for South Africa he has proved that he quit the game too early. The knocks that he has played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore has amazed and shocked the many seeing his mastery with the bat and Indian coach Ravi Shastri and Indian captain Virat Kohli are convinced that he has a lot more cricket in the tank and are urging him to get back to playing for South Africa again.

De Viliers has still not made a decision whether to sport the South African cap again. But with teams due to tour in December there is the possibility that the South Africa Cricket Board could convince him to getting back into their colours.

Not only Sri Lankans, but the world watching the LPL action on television would loved to see de Villiers walk out and take strike and entertain them with his belligerent bashing of the white ball.

With de Villers missing and also Andre Russell another mauler of bowlers having to pull out owing to injury, it will be left to the two ‘man mountains’ Chris Gayle and Carlos Braithwaite to provide the entertainment.

Age does not seem to have slowed down Gayle. He is still going great guns in the IPL in the UAE and has not lost his appetite for big hitting which has always been his forte and his batting for the Kings X1 Punjab has been of great value and it is hoped that he will entertain here.

Calling himself the ‘Universe Boss’ his hunger and thirst for big hitting has not dimmed and watching him mauling the bowlers in the IPL is amazing and a treat to watch. He has hit over 1000 sixes in T20 cricket. Amazing and awesome.

At 41 when most other cricketers would have hung up their cricketing gear, the manner in which he sprays his strokes that sends the ball rocketing to the boundary and over it is sweet music to those watching and not to the bowlers and fielders.

The likes of Gayle, like de Villiers, Russel and Braithwaite don’t come dime a dozen. Their types cannot be made. They are the cricketing god’s gift to the game. And when they do come their prowess should be used to the maximum. Gayle’s chances of playing in the IPL would not have looked rosy. But his franchise would have been a bit apprehensive. But they have chosen right and Gayle has delivered the confidence they had in him.

And it would be nice to see his countryman Braithwaite in action. Braithwaite too is another mauler of bowlers. One remembers how he played a breathtaking innings against England in the T20 final in Eden Gardens, Calcutta in 2016.

With West Indies requiring 23 in the last over which seemed impossible with England licking their lips imagining they had won the trophy, the glorious uncertainties of the wonderful game of cricket was never better displayed than when Braithwaite mauled the first four balls bowled by Ben Stokes for sixes to give the calypso boys a miraculous victory.

So one hopes Braithwaite has not lost the fire in the belly four years later and that he would continue to entertain in the LPL.

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