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Updated 20-Mar-2023 • Published 20-Mar-2023

Major League Cricket 2023 - player draft

Overview

  • Gear up for the USA's new T20 franchise league!
  • The six franchises gather together in Texas today to bring their squads together - follow the draft right here.
  • You can also watch a live stream of the draft live on ESPNcricinfo.

Overseas Player Signing Roundup - De Kock, Nortje, Hasaranga and Aussies Galore

Who is the Best MLC Overseas Signing?
9.8K votes
Aaron Finch - SF Unicorns
Anrich Nortje - DC Freedom
Wanindu Hasaranga - DC Freedom
Quinton de Kock - Seattle Orcas
Marcus Stoinis - SF Unicorns
Mitchell Marsh - Seattle Orcas
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That's all folks!

So a big night for quite a number of people in Houston as 54 selections were made in all to help the six MLC franchises configure their local players. We also heard the first six marquee overseas players signings, but still plenty more to come over the coming weeks and months. That's it from Houston for tonight's live draft coverage. Stay tuned over the next 24 hours for more snippets from Houston. I'm Peter Della Penna, take care!
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New Jersey's Sai Mukkamalla becomes the final pick of the draft

Top-order bat Sai Mukkamalla becomes the final player taken in the draft by Team Texas as their U23 round selection. The 18-year-old made his USA senior team debut in May 2023. Other USA-born players taken in the U23 round are Saideep Ganesh and Sanjay Krishnamurthi.
Of the 54 players chosen tonight who were classified as local residents eligible for selection in the "resident player" category, only 15 of them have represented USA at junior or senior level. And out of the 54 picks, only seven players were born in the USA (Steven Taylor, Nosthush Kenjige, Aaron Jones, Akhilesh Bodugum, Saideep Ganesh, Sanjay Krishnamurthi and Sai Mukkamalla). That may lead to some head-scratching for anyone who is hoping this league will help benefit USA players and aid in their further development.
However, being a former overseas international didn't guarantee selection. Former Sri Lanka spinner Amila Aponso, who played 9 ODIs, 3 T20s and is now based in Atlanta, went undrafted. Another shocking omission on the American side of things is New York-born left-arm spinning allrounder Karima Gore, who is currently contracted with Leeward Islands first-class team and is the best fielder in the USA national team setup.
As for the way the squads are shaping up, MI New York has an extremely obvious slant toward picking established USA national team players compared to other squads that loaded up on players with overseas pedigree. Of Mumbai's nine draft picks, six of them are current or recent USA men's squad members, far more than any of the other franchises. That includes current USA men's captain Monank Patel and former captain Steven Taylor as well as Nosthush Kenjige, Shayan Jahangir, Kyle Phillip and Saideep Ganesh. The obvious connection there is former USA head coach J Arunkumar, who resigned in November to take on a role with Mumbai Indians broader IPL setup. By comparison, DC Freedom and San Francisco Unicorns only have one USA national team player among their draft picks. DC went for former USA captain Saurabh Netravalkar while Unicorns went for teenage batter Sanjay Krishnamurthi.
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First U23 player taken well above slot - Texas left-arm spinner Ali Sheikh in Round 6

Each team is required to take an U23 player in the final round of the draft to promote development. But they can also be chosen in the general section of the draft too. LA Knight Riders have taken a gamble on USA U19 left-arm spinning allrounder Ali Sheikh, based in the Dallas suburb of Plano. The 20-year-old born in Doha, Qatar still has yet to make a USA senior international debut after having played for USA at U19 level, though he was in the USA squad for matches against Ireland in December 2021 that were disrupted by Covid. But he turned heads at the series of T20 trial matches this past week in Houston with a pair of Player of the Match performances, one each with bat and ball. He took three wickets in the 20th over of one match and a few days later top-scored with 49 including blasting two fours and two sixes in the final over, of a narrow final over win.
Meanwhile, Marcus Stoinis has just been announced as an overseas signing for SF Unicorns, who have taken Victoria fast bowler Brody Couch. The franchise with Victoria partnership links have snapped up the US/Australian dual citizen who qualifies as a local by virtue of being a US citizen thanks to his mother who is from upstate New York.
The sixth round also includes another Aussie/US dual citizen from Victoria (Cameron Stevenson to Team Texas) followed by legspinner Sarbjeet Ladda to MI New York, former South African Test spinner Dane Piedt (who now lives in North Carolina) to DC Freedom, and ex-Pakistani Nauman Anwar to Seattle Orcas. A member of Orcas management takes the stage to subsequently announce they've signed Mitchell Marsh as an overseas player.
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Former Pakistan Test batter Sami Aslam taken by Team Texas to end Round 5

Sami Aslam wraps up round five going to Team Texas, whose ownership is linked to Chennai Super Kings. He'll join Lahiru Milantha, Milind Kumar, and a pair of guys with South African links: Calvin Savage and Rusty Theron. There's been a distinct Pakistani flavor to the first five rounds. Among the other players taken are Hammad Azam (MINY), Mukhtar Ahmed (DC), Ehsan Adil (MINY), Saad Ali (DC). That doesn't include a star USA player of Pakistan heritage Ali Khan (LA Knight Riders).
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Second American-born player is finally taken... in round 4 - Nosthush Kenjige by MI NY

The King of the Desert! The pride of Auburn, Alabama! The only Nosthush on Facebook! Left-arm spinner Nosthush Kenjige has been snapped up in round four with the #22 overall pick by MI New York. So far, they've taken the only two USA-born players: Kenjige and Steven Taylor. Their other picks have been a pair of former Pakistani internationals: Ehsan Adil and Hammad Azam.
A short time later, DC Unicorns announce they've taken former USA captain and former India U19 left-arm pace bowler Saurabh Netravalkar. Michael Klinger takes the stage to announce that DC (who have a link with New South Wales) have signed Wanindu Hasaranga as an overseas player to go along with Anrich Nortje. The last pick in round four is made by Seattle Orcas, who take Cameron Gannon. The 34-year-old fast bowler is a US/Aussie dual citizen born in Sydney but currently contracted with Western Australia but originally from Queensland. Gannon made his T20I debut for USA in 2019 on the disastrous T20 World Cup Qualifier tour of Bermuda.
Gannon joins Harmeet Singh, former Sri Lanka international Shehan Jayasuriya and one of the steals of the draft, former Goa player Shubham Ranjane. Round 5 is now underway and Seattle has taken USA middle-order batter Aaron Jones with the 25th overall pick, after which a member of team management takes the stage to announce that they've signed former South Africa captain Quinton de Kock as one of their overseas players.
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Former Canada captain Nitish Kumar taken by LA Knight Riders

We're into round 4 now and LA Knight Riders may have taken one of the steals of the draft. After taking Ali Khan, Unmukt Chand and USA wk Jaskaran Malhotra with their first three picks, they've just snapped up former Canada captain Nitish Kumar with the second pick in round four. He has put his Canada career on pause to settle as a resident in Texas to make himself eligible as a local player for MLC requirements.
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First overseas signing announced - Aaron Finch to captain SF Unicorns

After the ninth pick in the draft is announced as Liam Plunkett going to the San Francisco Unicorns, a member of their ownership group takes the stage to announce that they have signed former Australia captain Aaron Finch to be the captain for the Unicorns in 2023. They've already taken Corey Anderson in Round 1 as well and are shaping up to be a formidable outfit.
Two former Pakistani players follow with picks 10 and 11 overall. Hammad Azam (who played 11 ODIs and 5 T20Is) is taken by MI New York and Mukhtar Ahmed (who played 6 T20Is) by DC Freedom. A member of the Freedom takes the stage to announce that they have signed Anrich Nortje as an overseas player.
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Former India U19 World Cup champion captain Unmukt Chand goes to LA Knight Riders

One of the most high profile names in the draft pool has just been snapped up by LA Knight Riders. Unmukt Chand, known in Indian circles as the man who captained his country to the 2012 ICC U19 World Cup title in Australia, has just been taken with the second pick in round 2, eighth overall.
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Best pick of round 1 - who ya got?!

2023 MLC Draft 1st Round - Who had the best pick?
4.5K votes
Seattle Orcas - Harmeet Singh
DC Freedom - Andries Gous
MI New York - Steven Taylor
San Francisco Unicorns - Corey Anderson
LA Knight Riders - Ali Khan
Team Texas - Rusty Theron
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Steven Taylor becomes the first American-born player drafted heading to MI New York

Former South African U19 wk Andries Gous becomes the second selection taken by Washington (DC) Freedom. He's followed soon after by former USA captain Steven Taylor, taken third overall by MI New York. Taylor was born and raised in Florida and is currently on tour in Namibia with the USA men's team. Former New Zealand allrounder Corey Anderson, who has married a Texas girl and is now based in Dallas, has been taken fourth overall by the San Francisco Unicorns.
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Harmeet Singh makes history with the Seattle Orcas

Left-arm spinning allrounder Harmeet Singh, who was part of the 2012 India U19 World Cup winning side and has captained the Seattle Thunderbolts to the 2022 MiLC franchise T20 title, has just been taken as the first overall draft pick by the Seattle Orcas franchise.
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Howdy y'all!

Welcome to ESPNcricinfo's coverage of the 2023 Major League Cricket Draft, a T20 franchise league based in the good ole US of A! I'm Peter Della Penna inside NASA Johnson Space Center as the six franchises are assembled at some fancy tables gathered inside the center. A total of 60 players in the domestic player/resident classification category are expected to be drafted tonight across nine rounds followed by an U23 round. The first pick will be made by Seattle Orcas. Overseas pros will be signed directly by franchises after the draft.
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