The recently concluded Mahindra Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) was a 20 days affair in which 7 teams participated namely Nagenahira Nagas, Ruhuna Royals, Kandurata Warriors, Basnahira Cricket Dundee, Uthura Rudras, Wayamba United & Uva Next. After much debate, the league ultimately got under way as Indian tycoons came forward as franchises. In fact, the league was named the Mahindra SLPL.
The league was a moderate success. One of the reasons may be the scheduling of this league as many overseas players could not participate in the league due to their respective countries’ international itinerary. Current players from Australia, India, England, South Africa could not participate in this league. The other reason was the uncertain weather conditions. Rain played a spoilsport in certain matches. Even the likes of Sri Lankan wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara, fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekara and the West Indian great Chris Gayle could not participate in the league due to their injuries.
However the league was beneficial for the local talent. The lads got a chance to play with leading cricketers of Sri Lanka as well as other countries. This will surely be a great experience for budding cricketers. It was heartening to see that the youngsters who participated in the league went all out to show their potential. Some of the notable performances were by Dilshan Munaweera who was the leading run-scorer (212 runs with an Average of 35.33), Shaminda Eranga and Isuru Udana were among the leading wicket takers. In fact 2 players have found a place in The Sri Lankan T20 squad for the ICC World T20 championship.
The league was won by Uva Next in a rain curtailed match against Nagenahira Nagas. Uva Next became the champions by the Duckworth-Lewis method. While Uva Next had shocked Wayamba United which was a strong contender for the title, their opponents Nagenahira Nagas entered the finals as their match with favourites Kandurata Warriors was washed out due to rain.
The umpiring was not however of international standard. In one of the matches, Mohammed Ashraful was clearly run out but the on-field umpire declared him not out without referring to the third umpire in spite of the available technologies. The replays showed that Ashraful was clearly run-out. Another incident was the decision of Mahela Jayawardene (Wayamba United) who was given lbw to Oram against Uva Next. Such blunders proved crucial in the ultimate result of the game. While umpires are prone to mistakes, technology available must be used without exceptions.
I hope the next SLPL will be a huge success as this was their inaugural year.