Pietersen, Afridi in CPL draft
Kevin Pietersen, Shahid Afridi, Mahela Jayawardene and Daniel Vettori are among the big names set to be drafted into Caribbean Premier League teams on Thursday, while the likes of Ross Taylor, Saeed Ajmal and Muttiah Muralitharan have already been assigned franchises. The tournament will feature the six teams that participated last year, and will be played over July and August.
The cancellation of this year's Sri Lanka Premier League has made a greater pool of players available, though Sri Lanka's Test cricketers will still be occupied by the home series against South Africa until July 28. India's tour of England will also be ongoing, though players like Dimitri Mascaranhas and Owais Shah, who are unlikely to play a part on that tour, will be available in the draft.
Players picked in the first round of the draft will receive contracts worth $80,000, with payments decreasing incrementally to $5,000 by the 13th round. Each franchise must end with a squad of 19 players, six of whom must be registered to the local cricket board for the home territory or country of the franchise. Two cricketers - one West Indies player and one international - must be pre-selected by each franchise, and the salary cap is $350,000 per team.
In all, the draft will contain 32 players from Australia, 26 from Pakistan, 23 from South Africa, 13 from New Zealand and 11 from Sri Lanka. Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan and Tamim Iqbal will also be up for grabs, as will Zimbabwe's Ray Price, Ireland's Kevin O' Brien and Netherlands' Tom Cooper.
Last year's inaugural CPL had proved popular with fans and players, with the tournament also garnering significant corporate attention.