From L to R: Babar Azam, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Mohammad Rizwan. File photo
Top Pakistan Twenty20 cricketers, including their skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan and tall pace bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, are set to join the Big Bash League (BBL) inaugural draft for international players, a report in the Daily Telegraph has said.
The BBL player draft is becoming high-profile with the likes of Afghanistan’s charismatic spinner Rashid Khan, West Indies stalwarts Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis already headlining the batch of stars nominated for the inaugural international draft.
Now reports say that Azam and Rizwan, the two highest-ranked T20I players, are set to grace the league.
Struggling side Melbourne Renegades have clinched the coveted first pick in the BBL’s inaugural overseas player draft after being drawn first in a lottery conducted by Cricket Australia on Wednesday.
While there are more than 170 nominations for the BBL draft, Cricket Australia (CA) has only made 28 names public, according to sen.com.au.
Rashid, following a superb run in the Indian Premier League with Gujarat Titans, is almost certain to return to Adelaide Strikers with head coach Jason Gillespie already indicating he “will do everything they can to retain the Afghanistan leg-spinner, who has played 61 matches for the club”.
Pollard, with 598 matches across 18 teams, is the most experienced T20 cricketer of all time. He is also the format’s third highest run-getter of all time with 11,670 runs at 31.20 and strike rate of 151. The 35-year-old Pollard, the former West Indies white-ball skipper, quit international cricket a couple of months back, while compatriot Bravo retired from internationals after last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE.
Bravo is the second most capped player with 542 matches and his 596 wickets has him way ahead of Rashid Khan with 466 as T20’s top two leading wicket-takers.
Rashid recently featured in the Blast for Sussex, snaring eight wickets in six matches and returns to the BBL (if picked in the draft) looking to be the first overseas bowler to take 100 wickets in the competition. He is currently on 92.
Indo-Asian News Service