Pre-Signings and expected Bidding Wars – Must know facts ahead of LPL 5 Auction

Lanka Premier League 2024

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The much anticipated fifth edition of the Lanka Premier League 2024 will be worked out from the 1st to the 21st of July in three venues – Dambulla, Pallekelle, and Colombo with the participation of five teams. As the five teams prepare to strategize and pick their players from the Player Auction which will be held on the 21st of May in Colombo, we at ThePapare.com, look at the pre-signings and potential players who will fetch big bids. 

The defending champions, B-Love Kandy might see a change in the team ownership, and at the time of writing, SLC has yet to finalize the decision on whether they will retain the ownership of B-Love Kandy or go with a different ownership which may change the team name to Kandy Falcons or Kandy Spartans.  

Until the start of the auction, the ownership and the name of the Kandy franchise is anyone’s guess. Both Dambulla and Galle have new owners and management as they have rebranded as Dambulla Thunders and Galle Marvels respectively replacing Dambulla Aura and Galle Titans.  

Kandy’s core of Sri Lankan players including captain Wanindu Hasaranga has been retained by the organizers and they have pre-signed a couple of West Indian players as well. Hasaranga was the star performer throughout the LPL 2023 topping both the most runs and most wickets charts with 279 runs and 19 wickets respectively. The experience of Angelo Mathews and Dushmantha Chameera will be vital as Kandy aims to retain the trophy in July.  

Jaffna Kings – 3-time champions have let go of their skipper, veteran all-rounder Thisara Perera, who has been signed up with Colombo Strikers for this year’s LPL. Also, mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana who was instrumental in the success of Jaffna over the past few years, has pre-signed with Galle Marvels.

Dambulla, who finished as runners-up last year will no longer have the services of their skipper Kusal Mendis, top order batter Avishka Fernando and spinner Noor Ahmed as all three of them have pre-signed with Jaffna Kings. Afghan all-rounder Azmatullah Omarzai will feature for Jaffna this season.

Wicket-keeper batter Sadeera Samarawickrama will play for Colombo Strikers in the fifth edition of the Lanka Premier League along with all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne and uncapped batter Nipun Dhananjaya.  

Colombo Strikers have acquired the services of Shadab Khan and Glenn Philips as their pre-auction overseas picks whilst Galle Marvels has retained Bhanuka Rajapaksa and young Lasith Croospulle. Galle Marvels will also have the destructive Alex Hales for the very first time in the LPL and the Kiwi wicket-keeper batter Tim Seifert, who is also a retention.  

Last year, left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka became the most expensive player at the auction attracting a bid of 92,000 USD from Jaffna Kings. He has been pre-signed with Dambulla Thunders this season along with the latest bowling stars for Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings – Nuwan Thushara and Mustafizur Rehman respectively.  

Full List of Pre-Signed Local and Overseas Players 

Kandy
Local – Wanindu Hasaranga, Angelo Mathews, Kamindu Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera
Overseas – Andre Fletcher, Kyle Mayers

Galle Marvels
Local – Niroshan Dickwella, Maheesh Theekshana, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Lasith Croospulle
Overseas – Alex Hales, Tim Seifert 

Jaffna Kings
Local – Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Avishka Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth
Overseas – Noor Ahmed, Azmatullah Omarzai

Colombo Strikers
Local – Thisara Perera, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Nipun Dhananjaya, Chamika Karunaratne
Overseas – Shadab Khan, Glenn Philips

Dambulla Thunders
Local – Dilshan Madushanka, Nuwan Thushara, Dushan Hemantha, Praveen Jayawickrama
Overseas – Ibrahim Zadran, Mustafizur Rahman 

The auction will start at noon on the 21st of May and will include 18 initial rounds, focusing on different categories such as batters, all-rounders, fast bowlers, spin bowlers, and wicketkeepers, with segments for capped and uncapped players.  

Following the 18 rounds, the auction will move into the acceleration round. Charu Sharma, the auctioneer for the inaugural LPL player auction last year, will continue as the auctioneer this year.

Each franchise will have an auction purse of US$ 500,000, totaling US$ 2.5 million collectively. Teams must spend at least 85 percent of their purse to form their squads. This year, Sri Lanka Cricket has made it mandatory to field a local U23 player to be featured in every playing XI throughout the tournament so some of the young guns will be in for some hefty pay-checks. 

With several key local and overseas names included in the final auction list of nearly 370 players, expect plenty of bidding wars for players such as Matheesha Pathirana, Dasun Shanaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage and Binura Fernando in the local front whilst, from the overseas list, stars like Lungi Ngidi, Shamar Joseph, Rilee Rossouw, Colin Munro, Alex Carey, Dwaine Pretorius, Naseem Shah, and Jason Behrendorff should sell like hot cakes.  

As the five teams strategize with their auction plans, the player availability for the entire duration of the LPL 5 will be one of the factors they will consider when going for overseas players since the Lankan Premier League is directly clashing with the Major League Cricket in the USA and the Hundred in the UK.  

Key Local and Overseas Players in the Auction 

Local – Dasun Shanaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Matheesha Pathirana, Dunith Wellalage, Binura Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Pramod Madushan, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Kusal Perera, Shevon Daniel, Janith Liyanage, Dhananjaya De Silva 

Overseas – Lungi Ngidi, Shamar Joseph, Rilee Rossouw, Alex Carey, Usman Khawaja, Shoaib Malik, Jason Behrendorff, Martin Guptill, Chris Lynn, Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro, Craig Ervine, Duan Jensen, Dwaine Pretorius, Fabian Allen, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ish Sodhi, Obed McCoy, Adam Milne, Naseem Shah, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rassie Van der Dussen 

Watch the Player Auction of the Lanka Premier League 2024, LIVE on ThePapare TV, ThePapareTV HD (Available on Dialog Television Ch. No 63 and 126 respectively), and ThePapare.com on 21st of May from 12.00 pm (GMT + 5.30) onwards. ThePapare will also maintain a live blog for the viewers to stay informed during the auction.