Biggest names, record numbers for CPL T20 Draft
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Organisers of the HERO Caribbean Premier League (CPL) are reporting that a record number of local and international stars have registered for the Player Draft scheduled for next Thursday in Barbados.
Players from 14 nations have entered the draft for the fourth instalment of the CPL, which takes place from the end of June until the beginning of August.
Among the assembled overseas stars is a 34-strong South African contingent headed by prolific top-order batsman Hashim Amla, leg-spinner Imran Tahir, and fast bowler Morne Morkel.
Sri Lanka will have 20 representatives in the frame, including legends Tillakaratne Dilshan and Lasith Malinga, who will be looking to join their compatriot Kumar Sangakkara.
There will be 23 players from Australia in the draft, including the experience of Brad Haddin, Brad Hodge, and Michael Hussey, and a further 11 New Zealanders, including the likes of Nathan McCullum.
A seven-member Bangladesh contingent features Shakib Al Hasan, one of the world's finest all-rounders, while seven players from Afghanistan are in the mix.
"Some of the leading names in world cricket have signalled their intentions to join the biggest party in sport at the CPL, so this year's competition is sure to be our most exciting to date," declared Director of International Cricket for the CPL Tom Moody.
"Outside of our 'marquee' players, there are international players of the highest standard, including a host of World champions and a myriad players who continue to entertain and enrich the global game."
The list of West Indies talent in the frame for the six franchises this year includes stars Chris Gayle, West Indies World T20 captain Darren Sammy, and Lendl Simmons.
Darren and Dwayne Bravo are set to join the number-one-ranked T20 international bowler Samuel Badree, as well as Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard.
"It is, without doubt, our most competitive roster, and it is exciting to see such a high standard across the established and emerging nations around the world," said Moody.
"That players from 14 nations have entered the Draft illustrates the global reach of the CPL, and with a sizeable increase in the West Indies contingent, which is up by over one-fifth this year, it is clear that the T20 game is growing from strength to strength."
A statement released by the CPL on Tuesday said it is also expecting interest from North America as players from Canada and the USA, who recently competed in the Nagico Super 50 competition, aim to book one of the six coveted places.
Two players each from England, Ireland, and Scotland, and one from The Netherlands will be the European representatives vying to secure a place in the CPL.
Sixteen of the 157 West Indies players to register have already been retained ahead of the Draft, leaving 141 eligible for selection on Draft day.
"This is 25 more than the 116 who vied for spots at last year's Draft and represents a 22 per cent increase," said the CPL statement.
"Coupled with an 18 per cent increase in international player registration, this is further illustration of the CPL's growing stature as one of the foremost tournaments in T20 cricket."