Sri Lanka to allow foreigners in domestic league

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 5, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka plans to welcome foreign players to compete for the first time for local teams in a revamped Twenty20 format, a top administrator said Saturday. Modelled on the glitzy Indian Premier League (IPL), the new format is also aimed at attracting overseas sponsorship, Sri Lanka’s chief cricket selector, Aravinda de Silva, said.

“This (new) Inter Provincial League will create opportunities for players, spectators and viewers and raise scope for foreign advertisers to reach a much wider audience,” he said.

De Silva said Sri Lanka was initially looking at attracting cricketers from the sub-continent, particularly India.

Foreign sportsmen are currently allowed to play only in Sri Lankan rugby matches.

De Silva, who was vice captain when Sri Lanka won their only World Cup in 1996, said the Twenty20 format had created a new class of globe-trotting player.

“With IPL, the T20 format went a step further,” he said.

“Just when Test cricket was sagging, IPL was formed three years back. The whole dynamics changed. Boundaries were cleared and players were merged from across the globe to form teams.”

Sri Lanka’s current