The inaugural BBL Draft pool has swelled to 169 players from 13 countries following the latest drop of nominations, with Afghanistan’s Mujeeb Ur Rahman and South African Imran Tahir headlining a spin-heavy list.
Players from Afghanistan – including cult hero wicketkeeper Mohammad Shahzad – through to Zimbabwe stars Blessing Muzarabani and Sikandar Raza are covered in the latest release of 71 players, with nominations closing on August 21.
Hopefuls from Bangladesh, Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, the UAE and the USA have all put their name forward in the latest batch, with clubs facing the prospect of a mountain of careful research to find the best fit.
And Sri Lankan left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya, who was Australia’s destroyer with 12 scalps in Galle on his Test debut last month, headlines a group of players from the island nation that also includes keeper Dinesh Chandimal and mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana.
A journeyman spinner who bolted in for a Test debut after Covid racked the Sri Lankans’ spin stocks, the 30-year-old Jayasuriya found Australian batters to his liking and his match figures of 12-177 were the fourth best by a Test debutant.
If drafted, it would be Jayasuriya’s first T20 experience outside Sri Lanka, where he’s taken 73 wickets in 56 domestic games across the past 10 years.
If enigmatic Afghan keeper-batter Shahzad were to be drafted, he could light up the BBL. Big hitting and with an even bigger personality, Shahzad once deadpanned “I love playing Dale Steyn, because Dale Steyn is not dangerous” and after leading his nation to a win over the West Indies at the 2016 T20 World Cup became a social media star with his own version of the ‘Champion’ dance.
His trademark is an emphatic and disdainful dismantling of the stumps when affecting a stumping or run out, and carved out a very niche slice of history in a 2017 T20 tournament for associate nations by becoming the first man to hit two T20 international fifties on the same day.
Six players announced today are eligible for retention by their club, including Mujeeb, who is the Brisbane Heat’s most capped overseas player with 37 appearances and as many wickets across the past four seasons.
Fellow Afghan players Mohammad Nabi and Zahir Khan have both nominated and are eligible for retention by the Melbourne Renegades, who appeared in desperate need of a high-quality spinner following the club’s decision to let Cameron Boyce go.
Nabi has been a fan favorite at the club, but his returns dropped off significantly in BBL|11 and the club may be tempted to look elsewhere.
Nepal’s sole representative in the draft will be Big Bash regular Sandeep Lamichhane, who is eligible for retention by the Hobart Hurricanes.
Englishman Tom Lammonby (Hurricanes) and USA-based Indian Unmukt Chand (Renegades) are also eligible for retention but in a rich draft pool may struggle to secure a return to the competition.
The decision of South Africa veteran Tahir to nominate will pique the interest of clubs, although the 43-year-old, who sits fourth on T20 cricket’s all-time wicket-taker’s list with 451 scalps, is unlikely to play the full season with a new tournament starting in his home nation in the new year.
Players are required to set their availability when nominating for the draft, but that detail won’t be confirmed publicly by the League until after nominations close, at which point League officials will also reveal which players have been elevated to the top-ranked and highest -earning Platinum status.
Four players with BBL experience have nominated for a return to the competition, including Englishmen Joe Denly and Dan Lawrence, ex-Renegades Afghan spinner Noor Ahmad, and veteran West Indies quick Fidel Edwards, who last featured in the competition with the Sydney Thunder in BBL |01.
Ashes quick Craig Overton and his twin brother Jamie, who recently made his Test debut, have both nominated, while big-hitting Irish allrounder Paul Stirling could well be that nation’s first representative to earn a BBL deal, having last month hit a one-day century against New Zealand alongside Harry Tector, who has also nominated.
Ireland allrounder Curtis Campher, who took four wickets in as many deliveries against the Dutch at last year’s T20 World Cup in the UAE, has also nominated for the draft.
Latest BBL|12 Draft nominations
Noor Ahmad, Ijaz Ahmadzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Shafiqullah Ghafari, Hamid Hassan, Zahir Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Waqar Salamkheil, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Mohammad Shahzad, Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Al-amin Hossain, Shafiul Islam, Ripon Mondol
Kashif Ali, Tom Alsop, Jacob Bethell, Patrick Brown, Steven Croft, Alex Davies, Joe Denly, Adam Hose, Tom Lammonby, Dan Lawrence, Craig Overton, Jamie Overton, Nathan Sowter, Mitchell Stanley, Cameron Steel, Callum Taylor, Jack Taylor , Paul Walter
Mark Adair, Andy Balbirnie, Curtis Campher, Gareth Delaney, Josh Little, Paul Stirling, Harry Tector
Brandon Glover, Fred Klaassen, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Paul Van Meekeren
Michael Jones, Mark Watt
Chris Benjamin, Shane Dadswell, Pieter Malan, Migael Pretorius, Imran Tahir, Dane Vilas
Dinesh Chandimal, Prabath Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Lakshan Sandakan, Maheesh Theekshana
United Arab Emirates
Harmeet Singh Baddhan, Unmukt Chand, Ali Khan
Johnson Charles, Mark Deyal, Fidel Edwards, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kesrick Williams
Eddie Byrom, Tawanda Muyeye, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikander Raza
Click here for the full list of all 169 players to nominate for the BBL Draft