After the huge success of the Indian Premier League, the Sri Lankan cricket committee (Sri Lanka Cricket – SLC) decided to organize their own version of the premier league. It was called the Sri Lankan Premier League. The inaugural tournament was slated to be held in 2011, however was postponed and eventually cancelled to be replaced by the 2011 Inter Provincial Twenty20 tournament. The Sri Lankan Premier League eventually kicked off in 2012 with seven teams vying for the top spot. The tournament was cancelled in 2013 and 2014 once again citing lack of sponsorship and organizational problems. It was replaced by the Super 4’s T20 in 2014 and was competed among four franchise teams.
After announcing the Sri Lankan Premier League in 2011, Sri Lanka Cricket signed with Somerset Entertainment Ventures as primary organizers for the event. Each of the provinces was represented by seven teams. Somerset Entertainment Ventures were given the rights to organize the event for fifteen years. The inaugural tournament was to be held at the R. Premadasa Stadium located in Colombo. The matches were slated to be held between 19th July and 4th August. However, the Indian Cricket Board (Board of Control for Cricket in India – BCCI) refused to release twelve Indian players that were selected to participate in the tournament. The tournament started being tainted by one controversy after another with allegations of incompetence and corruption being hurled towards Sri Lanka Cricket. Cricket Boards from other countries were also apprehensive in releasing their players due to the tournament being handed over to a relatively unknown Singapore based company – Somerset Entertainment Ventures. The 2011 edition was postponed and held in 2012.
Sri Lanka Cricket renewed their deal with Somerset Entertainment Ventures in 2012 and the matches were slated to be held at Kandy and Colombo. The BCCI also discussed the possibility of releasing Indian players for the tournament. The seven provincial teams were modified and converted to seven franchises with private owners, similar to the IPL and Barclays Premier League. The Sri Lanka Premier League was eventually launched at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo on 16th July 2012. The chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket also announced the possibility of two more franchises in the following seasons.
The 2012 season was played between 11th to 31st August at Colombo and Kandy. Of the 24 matches that were scheduled, 23 were played and one was rained off. Each of the seven franchise teams played each other in a round robin system. The top four teams would progress to the semifinals and the winners of the two semifinals would participate in the final game at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Each of the franchise teams were allocated a certain budget and were required to hire a captain, head coach, and build their team around the budget. Each team had to have around 18 Sri Lankan players and 5 foreign players. Each franchise also needed to have an icon player and only two out of the seven teams could nominate foreign icon players. Each team also needed to have a Sri Lanka Under-21 international player in their playing XI. Almost all Pakistani cricketers were also invited to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League as well.
|Team||Province||Owner(s)||Price||Captain||Head coach||Icon Player|
|Basnahira Cricket Dundee||Western||Indian Cricket Dundee Limited||$4.33 million||Tillakaratne Dilshan||Duleep Mendis||Tillakaratne Dilshan|
|Kandurata Warriors||Central||Number One Sports Consulting Private Limited||$4.98 million||Sanath Jayasuriya||Romesh Kaluwitharna||Kumar Sangakkara|
|Nagenahira Nagas||Eastern||Varun Beverages Lanka Private Limited||$3.22 million||Angelo Mathews||Shane Duff||Angelo Mathews|
|Ruhuna Royals||Southern||Pearl Overseas Limited||$4.6 million||Lasith Malinga||Waqar Younis||Lasith Malinga|
|Uthura Rudras||Northern||Rudra Sports Private Limited||$3.4 million||Jehan Mubarak||Tom Moody||Muttiah Muralitharan|
|Uva Next||Uva||Success Sports Private Limited||$4.6 million||Thilina Kandamby||Naveed Nawaz||Chris Gayle|
|Wayamba United||North Western||Wadhawan Holdings Private Limited||$5.02 million||Mahela Jayawardene||Trevor Bayliss||Mahela Jayawardene|
|Kandurata Maroons||Central||Sri Lanka Cricket||Lahiru Thirimanne||Chaminda Vass||Kumar Sangakkara|
The only season of the Sri Lanka Premier League that was held in 2012 saw Uva Next as the winners. They beat Nagenahira Nagas by 19 runs in the finals via the Duckworth Lewis method. Emdy Munaweera from Uva Next was the Man of the Match in the finals. RMS Eranga from Nagenahira Nagas was elected as the Player of the Series. The three teams to be eliminated after the group stages were Basnahira Cricket Dundee, Ruhuna Royals, and Uthura Rudras. The four teams in the semi finals were Uva Next, Kandurata Warriors, Nagenahira Nagas, and Wayamba United, with Uva Next and Nagenahira Nagas going on to compete in the finals.
The 2012 edition of the Sri Lanka Premier League was broadcast in 220 countries with a 10 minute delayed feed also available on YouTube.