Australia batsman Chris Lynn, Afghanistan spin twins Rashid Khan and Qais Ahmad, and South African batsman Rilee Rossouw have been picked up by various franchises as overseas signings ahead of the CPL 2020 players' draft which is scheduled for Wednesday.
The draft, which will be a virtual event due to the Covid-19 pandemic, has attracted 537 players. The CPL is scheduled to be played between August 18 and September 10 behind closed doors in Trinidad & Tobago, subject to the permission from the local government.
ESPNcricinfo understands Lynn has been signed by St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, while Rashid has been snapped up by defending champions Barbados Tridents. Rashid's Afghanistan team-mate Ahmad will play for Guyana Amazon Warriors while Rossouw has been hired by St Lucia Zouks. These signings were possible only because for the first time the CPL allowed the six franchises to sign overseas players outside of the draft.
Other foreign players that are understood to be have been signed include New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert (Trinbago Knight Riders), South Africa wristspinner Tabraiz Shamsi (Jamaica Tallawahs), and his national team-mates Anrich Nortje (Zouks) and Rassie van der Dussen (Patriots).
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It is understood that some of the names like Rashid and Ahmad were originally supposed to be part of the draft. However, once the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided to send an enlarged squad for the upcoming England tour, there were issues over the availability of some of the original picks like Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Shadab Khan.
While Shadab and Malik were meant to represent Warriors, Riaz is understood to have been initially signed by Tridents. Another Tridents signing that did not eventually go through was South Africa white-ball captain Quinton de Kock, who was meant to be the marquee player for the franchise.
Both Warriors and Knight Riders have the least number of slots to fill - three each. In contrast, Tallawahs have 11 vacant spots, Patriots six, while Tridents and Zouks have five each.
As for the draft itself is concerned, players from 23 countries, outside of those from the Caribbean, have registered, including two names from India. Forty-eight-year-old Pravin Tambe, the former Mumbai legspinner, is the oldest player in the draft. He had recently played the T10 league in 2018 for the Sindhis and was a regular in the Rajasthan Royals line-up between 2013 and 2015. More recently, Tambe was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders at the 2020 IPL auction, but was forced to withdraw later after the BCCI pulled him up for playing in unsanctioned cricket leagues like the T10. Asad Pathan a hard-hitting batsman, who had played for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL, is the other Indian in the draft. The 36-year old is part of the cluster without a base price.
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi is the only player listed in the highest base price bracket of USD 160,000 while England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan features in the USD 130,000 bracket. Morgan's England team-mate Tom Banton, New Zealand seamer Tim Southee, and Australia allrounder Ben Cutting have been slotted in the USD 110,000 bracket.
Some of the other noteworthy players that have registered for the draft include South Africa batsmen Faf du Plessis and David Miller, Afghanistan allrounder Mohammad Nabi, Australia batsman D'Arcy Short, Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane, Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman (all USD 90,000).
Former West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, who had captained the Patriots in the 2019 CPL, features in the USD 70,000 bracket with England batsman Alex Hales while South Africa strike bowler Kagiso Rabada along with Pakistan's left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi are listed in the USD 60,000 bracket.
As for availability, the only question mark remains over the players picked to feature in the series between England and Pakistan scheduled between August and September. Those players have notified the CPL that international cricket would remain their preference.
The CPL has told all franchises to assemble their squads from August 1 with the players and support staff having to undergo two-week period in quarantine before the tournament gets underway.
Rassie van der Dussen
Faf du Plessis
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo