I was optimistic when Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) was announced last year and was disappointed when it was postponed mainly due to India not cooperating by refusing to allow Indian players playing in the league. This year, too India did not change her stance and Sri Lanka Cricket decided to go ahead with the much hyped tournament without the Indians. Instead they signed more Pakistan players as if to hurt India. Nothing wrong with the decision as Paks are very good in the field and it is exciting to watch them in action.
But expected excitement was not there with the tournament right from the beginning. It started with a dull opening ceremony with live telecast by a relatively new TV station. I don’t know with others but I did not watch a single match completely though they were telecasted during comfortable time slots. I don’t know if anything wrong with me or is it the general feeling of the others also towards the tournament. Something is missing. Is it the Indians? I don’t think. There are players of high caliber from other countries. It would have been wonderful if Chris Gayle played.
I think the SLPL organizers should carefully study IPL and add more excitement to SLPL. I read somewhere the BPL was a success and there is no reason why we become unsuccessful. Of course SLPL cannot afford big sums of moneys to the players like the IPL but the tournament had done fairly well by signing up the likes of Shahid Afridi. With too many teams playing tests and ODIs in other parts of the world we cannot expect to sign them for this tournament.
Another spoiling factor was having the tournament during a rainy season. We are yet to see the monsoons but for some reason it rained in Colombo and Kandy and the matches had to depend on Duckworth and Lewis.
Crowds were smaller at the grounds but the ‘papara’ bands were playing their music. There were the cheerleaders but they were dressed absurdly decent. They should have dressed stylishly. There is no sin in exposing some more of them at an event like this.