Chris Gayle of Kings XI Punjab plays a shot.
Chris Gayle in action for Kings XI Punjab in the ongoing Indian Premier League in the UAE. Image Credit: Sportzpics for BCCI

Colombo: Chris Gayle, Faf du Plessis, Shahid Afridi and Carlos Brathwaite were among 23 star imports named on Tuesday for the twice-postponed Lanka Premier League which will finally begin next month.

Each of the five LPL teams is allowed up to six imported players and they have until November 1 to fill any remaining slots.

West Indies’ Gayle and South Africa’s du Plessis are playing in the Indian Premier League, now under way in the United Arab Emirates.

The 23-match Twenty20 Sri Lanka tournament was originally scheduled for August but was moved to November 14 and then November 21 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Players will have to go into quarantine for 14 days on arrival and the tournament, which will be played with no spectators, has been reduced from three to two venues - Kandy and Hambantota - with the final on December 13. A total of 23 matches will be played over a period of 15 days.

Gony, Bisla in fray

Interestingly, two Indian players - Manpreet Gony and Manvinder Bisla will be featuring in the inaugural edition as they have been picked by Colombo Kings, one of the five teams.

Manpreet, a right-arm medium pacer, played two ODIs for India - one against Hong Kong and the other against Bangladesh. Besides, the 36-year-old also played 44 games in the Indian Premier League. Manvinder, a wicketkeeper-batsman, played 35 IPL matches, scoring 798 runs.

In the draft held online, Gayle was picked as one of foreign icons by Kandy Tuskers. Apart from Gayle, the Tuskers also picked up Kusal Janith as the local icon while Liam Plunkett is the second foreign icon in the team. The Tuskers also have former Sri Lankan captain Hashan Tillakaratne in its coaching staff.

Colombo Kings also picked Angelo Mathews, du Plessis and Andre Russell among others. Mathews is the local icon in the team while du Plessis and Russell are the two overseas icons. The Kings also picked Dav Whatmore, as part of the coaching set-up.

Galle Gladiators have Lasith Malinga as the local icon while Shahid Afridi and Colin Ingram are the two overseas signing and the team will be coached by former Pakistan skipper Moin Khan.

Dasun Shanaka is the local icon for Dambulla Hawks while David Miller and Carlos Brathwaite are the overseas signing. The Hawks team will be coached by former English cricketer Jon Lewis. Jaffna Stallions have Thisara Perera as the local icon and Dawid Malan as the overseas signing.