Twenty20 specialist Kieron Pollard wanted out of the Barbados Tridents and today at the CPL draft in London he got his wish.
Pollard, who has led the Tridents over the past four years, was the biggest transfer in the draft today. The burly Trinidadian all-rounder had asked the franchise, which is owned by Indian businessman Vijay Mallya, to release him. The St Lucia Stars were quick to grab Pollard in the marquee round, which had a price point of US$130,000.
Pollard’s compatriot Lendl Simmons and New Zealander Martin Guptill fetched the biggest bids today. Simmons and Guptill, along with the quartet of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo and Sohail Tanvir, were paid the maximum price of USA$160,000 by their franchises.
Having been released by the Jamaica Tallawahs, Simmons put himself up for a base price of USD 70,000 in the draft. He ended up as the first pick of this year’s draft after the St Lucia Stars, who finished bottom last season, picked the hard-hitting Trinidadian opener. Guptill, who smashed a 49-ball century in a T20I against Australia recently, had set his base price at USD 90,000. The New Zealand opening batsman had represented the Guyana Amazon Warriors last season and was bagged by the Jamaica Tallawahs this time around.
The Tallawahs also retained Russell, who missed last year’s CPL since he was serving a one-year doping ban. Also retained were Gayle (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots) and Bravo (Trinbago Knight Riders). Tanvir, the highest-wicket taker in the previous edition of the CPL, was retained by the Amazon Warriors.
The pre-decided marquee set of players did not enter the draft – the franchises directly negotiated contracts with them. Former Pakistan captains Shahid Afridi(Tallawahs) and Shoaib Malik (Amazon Warriors), explosive openers Evin Lewis (Patriots) and Chris Lynn (Knight Riders) completed the marquee set.
While Afridi welcomed the news of being retained by the Tallawahs on his 38th birthday, Malik moved on from the Tridents. The Patriots retained Lewis with Lynn returning to the CPL having last played in the 2016 final for the Amazon Warriors.
All six teams had to fill a total of 108 slots with squads limited to 18 players each. Having retained a total of 61 players, franchises had to pick 47 new names from the draft. Incidentally, the first seven new picks were all batsmen: D’Arcy Short, Simmons, Hashim Amla, Guptill, Ross Taylor, David Miller and Cameron Delport. Pakistan quick Rumman Raees was the solitary fast bowler among the first 10 new picks, signed by St Lucia Stars for USD 70,000.
Lack of availability was the key reason behind franchises not opting for England and Afghanistan players. Alex Hales, Adil Rashid and Tymal Mills(along with Ashar Zaidi and Recordo Gordon) had put their names up for the draft despite the CPL running parallel to the Twenty20 Blast, with the finals of both tournaments separated by a day. Mills had set a base price of US$70,000, Hales US$40,000, and Rashid US$30,000.
With Afghanistan scheduled to play in the Asia Cup in September, the CPL had cautioned the franchises that the likes of Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb Ur Rahman would only be available for the start and end phases of the tournament. Rashid, who had represented the Amazon Warriors last season, did not put himself up for the draft. Nabi, who played for the Patriots last year, set his base price at US$60,000. Mujeeb, a first-timer, sett his base price at USD 30,000.
In January Sandeep Lamichhane made history by becoming the first Nepal player in the IPL when he was signed by Delhi Daredevils. Lamichhane, a legspinner, also became the first Nepal player in the CPL, after the Patriots signed him for US$5,000. Incidentally, Lamichanne did not set any base price before entering the draft.