Rangpur Riders have signed up AB de Villiers for the 2018-19 BPL season as their second signing outside the player draft, which is set to take place on Sunday. It sets up the mouthwatering prospect of a Rangpur batting line-up that also includes Chris Gayle, whom the franchise retained after his fireworks in last year's final, and Alex Hales, whom they signed earlier this month.
Apart from de Villiers and Hales, other prominent recent signings in the BPL include David Warner for Sylhet Sixers and Andre Russell for Dhaka Dynamites. There was interest shown in players from Associates nations too, with Sylhet roping in Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane and Khulna signing USA fast bowler Ali Khan, who impressed in the CPL this year. Dhaka have picked up Hazratullah Zazai, who recently hit six sixes in an over in the Afghan Premier League.
Each team has six players in their squad ahead of the draft. In all, each team can sign a maximum of 12 local and nine overseas players. Every side must include four overseas players in their playing XI this season.
Dhaka already have five overseas players among their current squad of six, which means they will focus mostly on local players in the draft. Rangpur could add allrounders and spinners to their squad to complement their star-studded batting line-up and a bowling attack containing Mashrafe Mortaza and Nazmul Islam. Sylhet have their top four sorted with Warner, Liton Das, Nasir Hossain and Sabbir Rahman, so they would look to strengthen their lower middle order and bowling attack which already includes Sohail Tanvir and Lamichhane.
In the draft, the A+ category (USD 200,000) will include Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir and Evin Lewis, while category A (USD 150,000) will include Mohammad Hafeez, Faheem Ashraf, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga and Darren Bravo.
The BPL which is scheduled from January 5 to February 8, will clash with the UAE T20x and the Big Bash League in Australia.