Inswing Ignition will be out to continue their dominance of the Albany Irrigation and Drilling Southern Smash — regional WA’s premier T20 competition — after signing Sri Lankan legend Tillakaratne Dilshan when it starts on Thursday in Albany. The Ignition have won the past two editions of the two-day tournament that will see former international and State players on the same field as a host of metro and regional cricketers. It was a convincing eight-wicket win for the Ignition in last year’s grand final, easily chasing down 96 to beat the Elders Avengers and claim successive titles. The defending champions have retained last year’s player of the final Kallen Bond and player of the tournament John Sanders but will have to contend with a number of losses, including all-rounder Lincoln Joy (injury) while championship players Luke Gollan and Paul Donaldson will play for a rival franchise. The Ignition will be however boosted by the inclusion of Dilshan, the big signing of this year’s edition of the Smash. The decorated world-class all-rounder amassed 10,290 runs and 16 Test centuries in a glittering career across all formats. The Ignition will start their title defence against the Albany Finance Fury on Thursday and also face the Retravision Warriors and Avengers in their bid to reach a third straight decider. The competition still boasts a wealth of talent despite the withdrawal of several big names in the lead-up. Former Big Bash star Craig Simmonds was set to play with the Camtrans Bulldogs but has pulled out, however the Bulldogs are buoyed by the last-minute inclusions of Aaron Burrage and teen sensation Corey Wasley. Former Perth Scorchers batter Will Bosisto was drafted by the Fury but has withdrawn through injury. The Fury have also lost Garrick Morgan to injury, while key local all-rounder Jeremy Wood has pulled out of the Avengers side due to harvest commitments. Ex-Australia batter Mark Cosgrove will be a key to the Retravision Warriors’ hopes of winning a maiden title. Other big names to play in the Smash will be Willetton young gun Brock Larance (Arc Infrastructure Aces), Claremont-Nedlands first-grade captain Jacob Whiteaker (Avengers), Glamorgan country cricketer Tom Cullen (Fury), WA second XI player Iszak Milentis (Aces) and Scottish international Ollie Davidson (Warriors). Teams will play three qualifying games over Thursday and Friday before the top two sides face off for the Smash title in the grand final on Friday starting at 3pm. There will also be two under-21 exhibition games between the Pinnacle Plumbing Pirates and Ganzer Electrical Gators, featuring some of WA’s best young talent. The first match was played on Wednesday before an official players’ welcome and the second will be at 6pm on Thursday under lights. There will be live music played after the conclusion of the grand final from Tre Amici and DJ James Thorne. Smash committee member Ryan Kinnear encouraged people to come down and watch the spectacle. “This is a wonderful tournament that the players simply love being a part of,” Kinnear said. “The music between balls and overs adds to the atmosphere and the finals have been played in front of large crowds. “We will have food and drink available, the weather looks great and we are really looking forward to putting on a couple of days of top entertainment. “Hopefully lots of kids come down and see some of these stars in action.” The tournament received a further boost last week with news that Romanian cult cricket sensation Pavel Florin will be at the event. Florin rose to fame in 2019 after a video of him surfaced bowling for his local side Cluj Cricket Club in the European Cricket League with a distinctive bowling action. He has been an ambassador for the Melbourne Stars in this year’s BBL competition.