BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
FORMER Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor headlines a group of 10 national cricket team players who have signed up for the upcoming Caribbean Premier League (CPL) players’ draft that is set to take place in London on Wednesday.
A record 536 players from 20 countries as well as the West Indies have made themselves available for the 2019 CPL draft and among the hopefuls are 10 Zimbabweans, namely Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Graeme Cremer, Kyle Jarvis, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Brendon Mavuta, Solomon Mire and Donald Tiripano.
Players who attract takers during the draft will feature in the 2019 edition of the CPL scheduled to take place from September 4 to October 12.
Speaking about the player response to this year’s draft, the CPL operations director Michael Hall said: “The fact that so many players have registered for our draft is a testament to the stature of our league. Playing cricket in the Caribbean is something that all players look forward to, and the CPL combines that allure with a high standard of cricket. We expect that this year’s tournament will be no different.”
Zimbabwean batting stalwart Taylor, who has been out of action for the last three months recovering from a right calf muscle tear he sustained during his stint at the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February, will be hopeful of attracting takers during Wednesday’s player draft.
The 33-year-old wicketkeeper/batsman did not fetch any takers during the Indian Premier League draft in December last year, but went on to the feature in this year’s editions of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and the PSL.
Another former Zimbabwe captain, Cremer, was the last Zimbabwean cricketer to be signed during the CPL players’ draft after being snapped up by the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots for $7 500 last year.
The 32-year-old leg spinner, who put his international career on hold after relocating to the United Arab Emirates for family reasons in January, was, however, not cleared by Zimbabwe Cricket to feature in the tournament before subsequently withdrawing after deciding to undergo surgery on his right knee.
Also confident of attracting takers during this week’s draft is allrounder Raza, whose stock continues to rise on the world stage, particularly in the T-20 format where he has become a household name in various leagues.
Just like his counterpart Taylor, Raza also participated in the lucrative BPL and the equally richly rewarding PSL.
With Zimbabwean players struggling to make it into the IPL which pays fortunes, the PSL, the BPL and the CPL have provided them with opportunities to earn big in the game.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe, who last played international cricket against minnows UAE last month, are expected to tour the Netherlands for two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty20 Internationals set for next month.
This will be followed by a tour of Ireland where they play a three-match ODI series and three T20Is in July.