As many as four India players will be participating in the inagural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020).
Indian players are a rare presence in overseas T20 leagues, given the BCCI’s strict policy limiting their participation in franchise cricket other than IPL. However, the following four India players, all bowlers, are part of the overseas contingent in the Lanka Premier League (LPL 2020). All four of them have retired from mainstream cricket, but continue to sporadically feature in white-ball leagues.
Manvinder Bisla, another Indian player, was part of the original squad list, but opted out of the tournament amid a number of pull-outs over the last month. Bisla, a former wicketkeeper-batsman, was picked up by the Colombo Kings franchise.
LPL team: Kandy Tuskers
Munaf Patel’s career fizzled away soon after he won the 2011 World Cup. His first-class career extended till 2016, following which he made only brief appearances in the shortest format. Soon after his official retirement, he was part of the 2018 T10 league, where he took five wickets in as many games, and earlier this year was seen participating alongside retired cricketers in the star-studded Road Safety World Series 2020, where he claimed six wickets, the most in the competition. Nine years after his last match for India, he will be seen playing alongside international players for the Kandy LPL team.
LPL team: Kandy Tuskers
When Irfan Pathan, now retired from international cricket, blazed to a 32-ball 58 in the 2020 Road Safety series, fans on social media couldn’t help but wishfully ask him to make a comeback. Arguably the biggest name on this list, Pathan had a rousing start to his career, becoming a regular presence in all three formats for India in the mid-to-late 2000s, and was part of the side that famously won the 2007 T20 World Cup. However, his international career encountered a dramatic dip in subsequent years, even as he remained a part of the IPL. He also featured in domestic cricket until last season, before entering the broadcasting industry.
— Irfan Pathan (@IrfanPathan) November 16, 2020
Three years after his last IPL game, Pathan will be seen in action in the Lanka Premier League, where he will feature alongside Munaf, his former Indian bowling partner, for Kandy.
LPL team: Colombo Kings
The tall, bustling quick was a regular in the first six editions of IPL, even as his India career hit a roadblock after just two games, both in the 2008 Asia Cup. Gony was Chennai Super Kings’ leading wicket-taker in the very first season, but the following editions weren’t as fruitful and Gony was left to slug it out at the domestic level. Towards the latter half of his career, he built a reputation of being a hard-hitting lower-order batsman. He retired from Indian cricket in 2019 and went on to play the Global T20 Canada days later.
LPL team: Dambulla Hawks
The lanky quick burst into the limelight during the 2009 IPL, when he gained popularity for his new-ball spells at CSK, famously dismissing AB de Villiers for a first-ball duck in one of the games that year. The debut stint with CSK, along with impressive performance for his state UP, found him a spot in the Indian team, but Tyagi couldn’t capitalise on the breakthrough, fading away after four ODIs and one T20I in 2009/10. The Indian quick continued to play domestic cricket until 2016, but only recently announced his official retirement, days before the start of LPL 2020.