Sri Lanka will begin its own version of a Twenty20 league tournament similar to the successful Indian Premier League (IPL) on July 19, the island nation's cricket governing body said on Thursday.
The first season of the Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL), which will have seven teams, is due to run until August 4 with all games to be played in R Premadasa stadium in Colombo.
Several foreign players, including Pakistan's one-day captain Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard of West Indies and South African Herschelle Gibbs, have already been signed up for the tournament.
"Twenty20's massive popularity and status as the most exciting and entertaining format of cricket will be further enhanced by this newest tournament to the world of cricket," Sri Lanka Cricket said in a statement.
The teams, representing seven of the country's nine provinces, can have up to five overseas players in their squads but are restricted to a maximum of four in each game and must include one under-21 player among the Sri Lankans.
The 24-match tournament will feature Basnahira Bears, Kandurata Kites, Magenahira Nagas, Ruhunu Rhinos, Uthura Oryxes, Uva Unicorns and Wayamba Wolves.