Afghanistan’s charismatic spinner Rashid Khan and West Indies’ Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo headline the latest batch of cricketing stars nominated for the Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) inaugural international draft.Rashid, Pollard and Bravo together have played 1,476 T20 matches, scoring 20,065 runs and taking 1,371 wickets and join South African batter Faf du Plessis as the latest marquee nominations in the draft pool.
A report in cricket.com.au said on Friday that 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 and Bravo, whose last BBL appearances were in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively, are free to be picked up by any club and are not eligible to be snared on a retention pick. Both Trinidadians are fresh off a stint in England’s T20 Blast where Pollard helped Surrey reach the quarter-finals and Bravo collected nine wickets for the Worcestershire Rapids,” the report said.
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.
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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 next month’s draft — looking to be the first overseas bowler to take 100 wickets in the competition. He is currently on 92.
Afghanistan’s 24-year-old opening batter Hazratullah Zazai joins Rashid in the inaugural draft pool with an enviable T20 record of 2,308 runs at a strike rate of 144 in 82 matches in the Pakistan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh T20 leagues.The duo is is among six Afghan cricketers to nominate, including fellow leg-spinner Qais Ahmad, who is eligible for retention by the Melbourne Stars having taken 13 wickets in 10 matches last season, according to the report.
A total of 100 nominations have been received since the draft was announced last month and more are likely to get added soon.West Indies left-arm pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell joins Pollard and Bravo in a strong 14-player contingent from the Caribbean, which also includes pacer Ravi Rampaul and top-order batter Evin Lewis.
BBL’s Player Acquisition and Cricket Consultant Trent Woodhill said, having three world-class cricketers in the draft was a huge boost for the tournament. “To receive nominations from players such as Rashid Khan, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo demonstrates the attention on the BBL in the global marketplace thanks to the draft,” he said.
Draft nominations so far:
Afghanistan: Rashid Khan, Qais Ahmad, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Waqarullah Ishaq, Izharulhaq Naveed, Naveen-ul-haq Murid, Hazratullah Zazai.
Namibia: David Wiese.
New Zealand: Colin Munro, Todd Astle.
South Africa: Faf du Plessis, Marchant de Lange, Rilee Rossouw.
West Indies: Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sheldon Cottrell, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Anderson Phillip, Khary Pierre, Ravi Rampaul, Sherfane Rutherford, Jayden Seales, Kevin Sinclair, Tion Webster, Nyeem Young.