COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's top stars will skip most of the matches in the country's inaugural premier league Twenty20, dealing another blow to the struggling event, an official said Tuesday.
Skipper Tilakaratne Dilshan, former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, all-rounder Angelo Mathews and slinger Lasith Malinga are among local players expected to miss most of the 10-day tournament starting Thursday.
“They (the players) will likely choose which matches they want to play, because they are being rested for the upcoming Australian tour,” Sri Lanka Cricket media manager Brian Thomas told AFP.
The Australian team arrives in Colombo on July 30 to play three Tests, five one-days and two Twenty20 games during their tour that ends on September 20.
Sri Lanka's cricket authorities were forced to shorten the T20 league after the Indian cricket board prevented its players from taking part.
The Indian board was concerned that the tournament's commercial partner had links with Lalit Modi, the sacked former boss of the hugely popular Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament.
Organisers denied the involvement of Modi, who faces criminal charges and accusations from Indian cricket authorities over millions of dollars misappropriated during his three-year tenure as IPL chairman.
Sri Lanka had modelled its tournament on the IPL and had hoped to recruit players from Australia, South Africa, the West Indies, New Zealand and Pakistan.
The Indian Ocean Island co-hosted the 2011 World Cup at a cost of dollar 69 million, far in excess of its projected budget, amid allegations of financial mismanagement.
The SLC has sought a government bailout to settle World Cup debts.