Sarfaraz Ahmed pulls out of LPL 2020; Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga doubtful too

Sarfaraz would be busy representing Pakistan on their tour of New Zealand.

Sarfaraz Ahmed tweets
Sarfaraz Ahmed. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Sr. Staff Writer

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The inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League (LPL) is yet to start but the tournament has already suffered a number of setbacks. The T20 league was initially scheduled to take place between August 28 to September 20. However, the organisers had to postpone it to November due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament was supposed to start on November 14 before Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced that it would start on November 26. And ahead of the start, the tournament has already seen several big names pulling out. The latest high-profile name to withdraw from LPL is former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. The wicketkeeper-batsman was expected to lead the Galle Gladiators franchise.

However, he won’t be able to travel to Sri Lanka for the tournament because of commitments with the national team, according to InsideSport. Sarfaraz has been named in Pakistan’s 35-man squad for their upcoming tour of New Zealand. Pakistan and New Zealand will play three T20Is between 18-22 December. It will be followed by a couple of Tests.

Doubts over Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga:

While Sarfaraz has pulled of LPL 2020, there are also doubts over the participation of Lasith Malinga and Universe Boss Chris Gayle. According to the report, Malinga is in two minds whether to play the LPL or not. The report quoted different sources in Sri Lanka and has claimed that Malinga has indicated an intention to pull out.

On the other hand, Gayle is still negotiating the terms of his contract with Kandy Tuskers and is uncertain for the LPL 2020. Gayle recently plied his trade in the IPL 2020 for Kings XI Punjab. Former England pacer Liam Plunkett and Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz are also likely to withdraw from the tournament.

Among other withdrawals, former Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore has pulled out. He was set to coach the Colombo Kings franchise. Whatmore has been replaced with former England fast bowler Kabir Ali but with Kabir now having tested positive for Covid-19, he is likely to withdraw from the league. Pakistan batsman Mohammad Hafeez and South Africa batsman Faf du Plessis have also withdrawn due to commitments with their national teams.