The inaugural edition of Afghanistan’s T20 league will feature around 34 overseas players. The first season of the official T20 League of the Afghanistan Cricket Board will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium from October 5 to 23.
Afridi was picked up by Paktia, Russell by Nangarhar, Gayle joined Balkh, and McCullum went to Kandahar at the Players’ draft yesterday (Monday). Kabul got Afghanistan cricket’s biggest icon Rashid Khan as their star signing.
“It is an honour to play in your own league,” Khan had told Khaleej Times. “Now is the time for youngsters from Afghanistan to come forward and show their ability. It will be an opportunity for them to share the dressing room and also rub shoulders with the likes of Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle and others.
“If you see the BPL (Bangladesh Premier League), IPL and Big Bash (League in Australia), these leagues helped their countries do well. They got a lot of youngsters from those leagues. So we are hoping it does the same for the Afghanistan youngsters.”
The league will feature six players from England – Ravi Bopara, Sam Billings, Chris Jordan, Luke Wright, Laurie Evans and Tymal Mills; three Kiwis – Luke Ronchi, Colin Munro and Mitchell McClenaghan); Ben Cutting and Ben Laughlin from Australia; Pakistan contributes the largest foreign signings pool –Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanveer, Mohammad Irfan, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez; there will by three South Africans – Colin Ingram, Wayne Parnell and Cameron Delport; Thisara Perera is the lone Sri Lankan representation; alongside two Bangladesh players Tamim Iqbal and Mushfiqur Rahim and Ireland’s Paul Stirling.
Nepal’s spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane, Ryan ten Doeschate of the Netherlands, local boy Mohammad Naveed and Scottish batsman Calum McLeod will Associate Nations’ representations.
As for the Afghan national heroes, Mohammad Shahzad went to Paktia, Mujeeb Ur Rahman to Nangarhar, Mohammad Nabi to Balkh and Asghar Afghan to Kandahar.