Updated: Jan 18, 2021
Franchise cricket in Sri Lanka is set to resume with the inaugural Lanka Premier League. The journey to its inception has not been ideal so far, with a lot of marquee players like Lasith Malinga, Chris Gayle, Faf Du Plessis, David Miller and Ravi Bopara pulling out of the tournament. However, there are still many stars who are likely to light up the Hambantota Stadium in Srilanka. The following are 5 players to watch out for in the first-ever edition of LPL 1 Andre Russel
Andre Russel was one of the biggest names drafted in the Lanka Premier League. However participation of the Carrabian powerhouse was doubtful due to injury issues, but with the tournament start postponed to a later date opened new doors for him and it is now likely he will feature in the tournament and play for Colombo Kings who will be hoping nothing short of maximums from the big man. After a below-par IPL, Russel would be itching to show his muscle in the other part of the subcontinent.
2 Angelo Matthews
The former SriLankan captain will be captaining the Colombo Kings this season. The 33-year-old would want to use his experience and lead his team to glory in the maiden season of LPL. Angelo Matthews has indicated that has been working on his Bowling in the lockdown so it will be interesting to see if we get to see the best of Matthews this season not just from a batting point of view but with the ball as well.
3 Paul Stirling
The Irish powerhouse was once the "ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the year" ever since then he has made a name for himself on the big stage. He will be seen opening for the Dambulla Vikings and will be expected to dominate from ball 1 as he does in the greens for Ireland. His most recent knock came as shock to England where he scored a match-winning 142 leading Ireland to a memorable victory against Eoin Morgan's men. The current vice-captain of Ireland will surely be important to Vikings' chances of winning the tournament.
4 Shahid Afridi
Shahid Afridi is supposed to lead the Galle Gladiators team, however, after missing his flight to Srilanka he might miss the initial game. Yet, this list won't be completed without him. He might have aged but can still hit some big ones and claim those crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs and bamboozle the batsman and that's exactly what his team will be hoping from him.
5 Shoaib Malik
The veteran batsman of Pakistan will be partnering Thisara Perera in Jaffna Stallions. With the experience of more than 10000 runs in T20 cricket, Shoaib is the 3rd highest scorer in T20 cricket only after Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard. He has played for over 15 teams across many leagues like CPL, BPL, IPL, Big bash to name a few. He will be a vital cog in the inexperienced Jaffna Stallions unit.