Destructive West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has signed up to play five matches in the 2016-17 season of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) for Chittagong Vikings.
Gayle, who will be making a switch from his previous franchise Barisal Bulls, is expected to be available for the latter half of the tournament that begins on November 4 in Dhaka. The 37-year-old Jamaican and 30 other foreign players have been signed up by the seven franchises ahead of the players’ draft, scheduled for September 30.
Vikings, who finished at the bottom of the points table in the 2015-16 season, have also roped in four more foreign players – West Indies Dwayne Smith and Pakistani Shoaib Malik, both of who played for Comilla Victorians last season, and Rangpur Riders’ Chaturanga de Silva and Mohammad Nabi.
Gayle contributed a sum total of 139 runs with the bat in the four games he played for Barisal last season, while Nabi took seven wickets for Rangpur in as many matches. Smith, however, last played the tournament in 2013, while de Silva finished as the leading wicket-taker in this year’s Dhaka Premier League.
Mahela Jayawardene, meanwhile, is set to join his countryman Kumar Sangakkara at Dhaka Dynamites, who have also signed up Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Ravi Bopara.
Jason Holder, Lendl Simmons, Ryan ten Doeschate, Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Grant Elliott, Ahmed Shehzad and Herschelle Gibbs will be the other star attractions at the players’ draft. Placed in A category, the salary cap for these foreign players would be $70,000, while those in categories B, C and D can earn up to $50,000, $40,000 and $30,000 respectively.
Comila Victorians, the defending champions, have roped in Imad Wasim, Thisara Perera and Sohail Tanvir, and also retained Ashar Zaidi and Nuwan Kulasekera. This will be Imad’s BPL debut.
Rangpur have procured the services of three Pakistan stars – Shahid Afridi, who would be moving from Sylhet, Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam, along with Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad, Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka, the 19-year-old West Indies batsman Gidron Pope and Northamptonshire pacer Richard Gleeson.
While Barisal have only signed up Dilshan Munaweera so far, Rajshahi have snapped up Darren Sammy and Mohammad Sami. Nicholas Pooran, Riki Wessels, Kevon Cooper, Mohammad Asghar and Benny Howell will all ply their trade for Khulna Titans.