By Bipin Dani
Former South African captain Faf du Plessis will make his first appearance in the Lanka Premier League when the second edition starts later this year, it is confirmed.
According to highly placed sources in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), he is set to play for the defending champion Jaffna Kings team, formerly known as Jaffna Stallions.
Interestingly, the 37-year-old middle order batsman recently played in the Indian Premier League (IPL) final and won the Player of the Match award for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team.
"Du Plessis has not been hired because of the IPL final. He was in negotiations with authorities much earlier but the clearance and confirmation was received on the day of the finals when he was adjudged the Player of the Match for his 86 runs," a source said.
"Du Plessis, who is not a member of the South Africa team in the World Cup will be the first overseas icon of the franchise team.”
The authorities have asked all participating teams to decide on pre-draft players and the list retained players.
Jaffna team owners are likely to retain captain Thisara Perera and Thilina Kandamby as their coach.
The team is likely to have few Pakistani players in overseas lists.
"We are keen to retain Shoaib Malik, who has now been added to the Pakistan squad for the T-20 World Cup. His performance was good last year also," the source attached with the management, added.
Jaffna Kings are also likely to retain some local players including Wanindu Hasaranga.