Cricket Buzz: Irfan Pathan signs up for CPL players’ draft

All-rounder Irfan Pathan Thursday became the first Indian to be included in the Caribbean Premier League’s players’ draft, a development that could make him the only Indian man to play in an overseas T20 league.

It remains to be seen if he gets a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the BCCI, which has maintained a tough stance in not allowing Indian cricketers to participate in T20 leagues such as BBL, CPL and BPL.

The players’ draft for CPL 2019 was announced on Thursday with Irfan being the only Indian in the list.

CPL’s official website posted the final list of players who have signed up for the player draft.

“Prior to the draft, each franchise will have the option to retain and/or acquire a maximum of six players, although there is no obligation to do so,” CPL announced on its website.

“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,” said CPL Tournament Operations Director Michael Hall.

Irfan has not been a part of the Indian Premier League in the previous two seasons. In 2017, the Baroda all-rounder played just one game for Gujarat Lions while in IPL 2016, he played four games for Rising Pune Supergiants. If selected, the 34-year-old will be the first Indian player to play in CPL.

Irfan has represented India in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20Is, picking up a total of 301 wickets. He has also scored over 2,800 international runs.

The likes of Alex Hales, Rashid Khan, Shakib al Hasan, Jofra Archer and JP Duminy have put their names forward for the draft along with Caribbean stars such as Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope.

Each franchise has the option of retaining or acquiring a maximum number of six players, although there is no obligation to do so.

A record 536 players from 20 overseas countries and the West Indies have been included in CPL 2019 players’ draft.

Two years ago, Irfan’s elder brother Yusuf could not play in the Hong Kong T20 League after failing to get NOC from BCCI.

Aamir included in Pak World Cup squad 

Experienced left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamir was Thursday included in Pakistan’s World Cup squad after their bowlers were taken to the cleaners by England recently.

The thrashing by English batsmen in a T20 International and two ODIs has alarmed the selectors, who were initially not keen on picking Aamir for the showpiece owing to lack of form.

Though Aamir is suspected to be suffering from chicken pox and is to have a medical examination done in London, a reliable source told PTI that the team management, including captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and head coach Mickey Arthur, expressed confidence in the bowler and allowed him time to recover.

“The chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq is also in agreement with the team management but he wants to first be sure Aamir can be fit by the time the World Cup starts from May 30,” the source said.

He said the team management and chief selector are now awaiting the medical report of Aamir who was sent to London to stay with his in-laws after it first emerged he might have contracted chicken pox.

“If the cricket board confirms that Aamir can make a recovery in two weeks’ time, the management and chief selector will want him in the World Cup squad,” the source said.

The lacklustre performance of the bowlers in the matches against England forced the team management to go back to Aamir, who was not part of the 15-man squad named initially.

“They are also keeping a close look at Asif Ali who has scored two successive half-centuries in the ODIs and if he continues his form he might well be included in the World Cup squad but at whose cost this has to be decided,” he added.

England pacer Woakes tells bowlers to be aggressive in World Cup

To bowlers worried at the prospect of running into a rampaging English batting line-up in the World Cup, England pacer Chris Woakes suggests it would be prudent to go in with an attacking mindset.

Be it setting big targets or chasing improbable totals, England seemed to be at ease in recent times.

On Tuesday, the World Cup hosts eased to a challenging victory target of 359 with more than five overs to spare after an opening stand of 159 between Jonny Bairstow (128) and Jason Roy (76).

The bowlers’ toil did not escape Woakes’ eyes.

“I think you have to try to be aggressive as a bowler or at least have a bit of an aggressive mindset to take wickets, because we all know as bowlers, when you get into that defensive mindset and you are just thinking purely about damage limitation that’s probably when you are at your most vulnerable,” Woakes said after the match.

The fast bowler added, “Always trying to take that attacking approach is probably the best way and if I ever had to bowl at them (England’s top seven), which I probably will do in county cricket at some point, I’d try to get them out — however that is.”

Woakes is certain that bowlers from the visiting teams would do their homework before entering the ICC showpiece.

“They (bowlers from visiting teams) must have been playing the amount of cricket we have as well. They know the white-ball game’ obviously got harder for the bowlers. A lot of players have played in the IPL and things like that — bit of a graveyard for the bowlers.

“I think they know that it’s going to be probably a high-scoring World Cup, particularly at certain grounds, but I don’t think it will be a shock to many people.”

Woakes said his World Cup selection is far from guaranteed following Jofra Archer’s arrival on the international stage. The Barbados-born Archer has the ability to bowl at up to 90 mph and that could see him break his way into hosts’ World Cup team just weeks after he made his debut for the national side.

While Woakes did his own prospects no harm by picking up four wickets for 67 runs in 10 overs in the third ODI here, he had his fingers crossed on selection for World Cup games.

“Safe is probably not the word,” he said.

“But you always feel like you need to put in performances, and I’m pleased I managed to do so.

“You hope you are safe, but I suppose until that squad’s selected you’re not. Hopefully I am, but we will see,” Woakes said.


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