JOHANNESBURG – Twenty20 icons Alex Hales and Shahid Afridi are among 90 foreign players short-listed to participate in the inaugural T20 Global League draft to be held this weekend.
The pair will join eight foreign marquee players who will also be assigned individually to the eight participating franchises on August 26 and 27.
Those players were named in April and are Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga, Brendon McCullum, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen, Kieron Pollard and Jason Roy.
Other world stars that have made the final cut are Steven Finn, Ahmed Shehzad, Ben Hilfenhaus and Saeed Ajmal, with 13 countries in total, including South Africa, represented on the list.
There is also the added intrigue of Pakistan legend and former captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who is 43, possibly coming out of retirement to play after he availed himself for the six-week-long competition.
Fellow global Test legends Shivnarine Chanderpaul (West Indies) and Ian Bell (England) are also on the list.
Added to the cosmopolitan flavour will be Associate stars Ryan ten Doeschate (Netherlands), Kevin O’Brien (Ireland), Dawlat Zadran (Afghanistan) and Kyle Coetzer (Scotland).
Ten Kolpak players join them in the draft, amongst them being big-hitters Richard Levi, Colin Ingram and David Wiese.
The 13 countries represented are Afghanistan, Australia, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.
Hales made a brilliant 116 not out off only 64 balls in a T20 International against Sri Lanka, while Afridi just this past week hit a century off 42 balls for Hampshire in England’s T20 blast.
“The Player Draft is a major step forward for the T20 Global League, and the anticipation among players, coaches and owners is now clearly visible,” said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat.
“The huge interest from players around the world has been phenomenal, and the calibre of players in the draft will make squad selections one for the fans to follow.
“Fans both here and around the world will be able to join in the excitement as they see the franchises sign up some of the world’s best.”
The four players who have made the highest individual scores in T20 franchise cricket – marquee players Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum, as well as draft nominees Hamilton Masakadza and Adam Lyth – underline the quality that is going to be on display.
“Gayle, McCullum, Shehzad, Hales, Levi and our own Proteas captain Faf du Plessis – another marquee player – are among those who have scored T20 International centuries. The T20 Global League is now ready for take-off,” concluded Lorgat.
A maximum of five international players (including Kolpak players) can be selected in each franchise team.
The competition will be played in November and December in eight cities across South Africa.
Cricket South Africa