Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Sri Lanka Premier League ropes in Mahindra & Mahindra as title sponsor




That former Sri Lanka skipper and ace batsman Aravinda De Silva is a man of few words was very much evident on Wednesday when the legendary batsman, who has always let his bat talk, struggled to answer a barrage of questions at a function to promote the Mahindra Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) in city.

The event, which gets underway from August 11 and runs till the last day of this month, has managed to rope in Indian tractor giants as title sponsors. Of course, many of the world's top cricket stars would also grace the event.


However, the SLPL has failed to get Indian cricketers on board. When asked to explain the irony, Aravinda struggled to put the issue in perspective.
"They have a busy international schedule and I guess that is why they are not playing in the SLPL. We also didn't have an auction of sorts, but I'm sure the presence of many top international players will make up for that," said the architect of Sri Lanka's momentous 1996 World Cup triumph.
The BCCI had not given permission to its players to participate in the T20 event. Aravinda though was optimistic of things changing. "I hope that we will see them in the future," said the man who was not officially representing Sri Lanka Cricket Board. Surprisingly, there was not a single representative of the Board at the press briefing too.
Known as the Mad Max for his destructive batting and his tendency to gift his wicket away when in sublime touch, Aravinda, was hopeful of SLPL doing a world of good for the country's budding cricketers.
"It will certainly help provincial players in our country and give them a chance to rub shoulders with top international stars and this will certainly be an enriching experience for them," said the former Sri Lankan chief selector and captain.
The 46-year-old also admitted that the SLPL may result in young cricketers getting over exposed so early in their career. "But the point we see here is that our youngsters will get an opportunity and that is important for us," added the man with more than 15,000 runs in international cricket.
Asked to name his favourite cricketers among the current lot, Aravinda added that he watches Indian star Virat Kohli with great interest. "He is certainly my favourite player. I like the way he plays and approaches his innings. He has a great future ahead of him." Perhaps Kohli's early reputation of being a brash player, who gave away his wicket easily, could be the reason for the Lankan legend's liking for the Indian vice-captain.
Coming to the event, there will be 24 games in the Mahindra SLPL and each team will be allowed a maximum of 18 players. Teams will be allowed to field a maximum of four foreign players per game. The Man of the Match in all 24 matches will receive the title of "Mahindra Man of the Match" while the 'Man of the Tournament' will win himself an XUV5OO.
Aravinda, who has a great love for fast cars, may be tempted to make a comeback.

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