Colombo, Nov 20 (Agency) Star players Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga will miss the Lanka Premier League following injury and inadequate preparation time. Gayle has told the Kandy Tuskers franchise that he will not be traveling to Sri Lanka on account of an injury. Lasith Malinga – Sri Lanka’s most recognisable T20 player – has also pulled out a week from the tournament’s start date, citing inadequate preparation time.
The arrival of Andre Russell this week, however, will ensure that the tournament will have at least one global star. Gayle’s exit had been rumoured for several days, but Malinga’s withdrawal has come as more of a surprise, particularly as he was one of the Galle Gladiators’ marquee players, and was expected to lead that team. Malinga had not played a competitive match since March, and said that the lack of cricket and training this year had prompted his decision to withdraw. “Since the West Indies series early this year, I haven’t had any cricket, and there hasn’t been any training for me at all,” Malinga told ESPNcricinfo. “When the draft happened last month, I thought there would be about three weeks of training before the LPL, but there has been nothing. They are only having us come to Hambantota this week, and even there they are asking us to do three days of quarantine. “It’s not easy for a bowler to play at a high level without training. At the LPL they also have matches on back-to-back days. So I decided not to play the tournament.” Also withdrawing from the tournament this week is Ravi Bopara, who had been drafted late into the Jaffna Stallions franchise, but has now confirmed to the franchise that he will not play. The first match of the LPL is scheduled to be played on November 26.