DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – West Indies superstars Chris Gayle and Andre Russell have been drafted as ‘icons’ for their respective franchises in the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) which bowls off next month.
In the draft staged Monday, Balkh picked up the veteran Gayle as their icon player while Nangarhar snatched up all-rounder Russell.
The duo are the only West Indies players involved in the inaugural tournament which runs from October 5-21 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
Though in the twilight of his career, Gayle remains a highly sought-after player on the global T20 circuit. The Jamaican, who turns 39 in ten days, holds the record for the most career T20 runs with 11 711 and the most centuries with 21.
Russell, meanwhile, is also viewed as a prized asset in the T20 format, where his explosive lower order batting, steady medium pace and outstanding fielding has earned him contracts in nearly every league across the world.
He has scored nearly 4100 runs from 166 matches, taken 244 wickets and 121 catches.
Both players are currently campaigning in the Caribbean Premier League which wraps up Sunday in Port of Spain.
Gayle is captain of St Kitts and Nevis Patriots while Russell skippers Jamaica Tallawahs.
Barbados-born England all-rounder, Chris Jordan, was also drafted and will showcase his skills for the Paktia franchise, headed by legendary Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Exciting leg-spinner Rashid Khan will lead Kabul as their icon with New Zealand batting star Brendon McCullum named as the icon for Kandahar.
Each of the five franchises chose between 17 and 20 players, with five compulsory overseas players.
Squads: Paktia squad: Shahid Afridi* (icon), Thisara Perera, Mohammad Shahzad, Cameron Delport, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Samiullah Shinwari, Chris Jordan, Faheem Ashraf, Luke Wright, Amatullah Omerzai, Rahmanullah Garbaz, Zia Urhaman Akber, Calum MacLeod, Tahir Adil, Yousaf Zazi, Fazal Zazai
Kabul squad: Rashid Khan (icon), Luke Ronchi, Hazrat Zazai, Colin Ingram, Fareed Ahmad, Javed Ahmadi, Sohail Tanvir, Laurie Evans, Wayne Parnell, Shahidullah, Muslim Musa, Afsar Zazai, Ali Khan, Zahir Shirzad, Fitrat Khawry, Usman Adil, Shawkat Zaman, Nasir Totakhil, Zamir Khan
Balkh squad: Chris Gayle (icon), Colin Munro, Mohammad Nabi, Ravi Bopara, Aftab Alam, Gulbadin Naib, Mohammad Irfan, Ben Laughlin, Kamran Akmal, Qais Ahmad, Usman Ghani, Ikrain Alikhil, Ryan ten Doeschate, Tariq Skanikai, Asadullah Matani, Samiullah Salarzai, Farhan Zakhil, Mohammad Nawaz, Darwish Rasooli
Nangarhar squad: Andre Russell (icon), Tamim Iqbal, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ben Cutting, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Najeeb Tarakai, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Hafeez, Rahmat Shah, Naveen Ul Haq, Zahir Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Fazal Haq, Imran Janat, Nasratullah Quarishi, Khyber Omar, Ibrahim Zadran, Fazal Nazi
Kandahar squad: Brendon McCullum (icon), Wahab Riaz, Asghar Afghan, Paul Stirling, Najibullah Zadran, Karim Janat, Tymal Mills, Sam Billings, Iftikhar Ahmed, Amir Hamza, Karim Sadiq, Sayed Shirzad, Mohammad Naveed, Waqar, Abdul Baqi, Waheed Shafaq, Waqarullah Ishaq, Nasir Jamal