Kolkata: For a long time, it has been every cricket lover’s wish to see Indian cricketers featuring in famous foreign T20 leagues. Well, in what can be called a monumental decision, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has fulfilled that dream as it has allowed hard-hitting all-rounder Yusuf Pathan to play for Kowloon Cantons in the Hong Kong T20 blitz. Pathan, thus becomes the first player in the history of Indian cricket to feature for a team in a foreign T20 league.
While announcing the signing of Pathan, Tim Cutler, chief executive of Cricket Hong Kong said, “This is amazing news and we are very appreciative of the BCCI in granting this NOC (Non Objection Certificate) – a world first for them to allow a current player to take part in a T20 league outside of India. This will go a long way to help the development of the sport in the region and with even more stars still to be announced this is shaping up to be a superb tournament that will be enjoyed by millions across the world.”
He lauded the efforts of the Cantons for penning down a deal with the aggressive right-hander. He said, “The tireless work of the Cantons should also be acknowledged. Without the tenacity of Cantons CEO, Urvashi Sethi-Sodhi this simply would not have happened and it is great to see the Cantons again lifting the event to greater heights with their hard work.” Cutler also thanked the BCCI for releasing Pathan as he knows that such a move would do a lot of good for the development and progress of cricket in the country.
Pathan has already been given a green signal from the BCCI and Baroda Cricket Association for his participation in the Hong Kong based tournament. Pathan plays for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has been an integral part of his team over the years. A former Rajasthan Royals’ player, Pathan joined the KKR in 2011 and has scored over 2671 runs over nine editions of the IPL.
Undoubtedly he would be a star inclusion into the Cantons’ squad which has already signed heavyweights like Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi and English left-arm fast bowler Tymal Mills. Other star signings of the tournament include the Sri Lankan duo of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, former West Indian skipper and two-time T20 World Cup winner Darren Sammy, New Zealand all-rounder James Franklyn and former South African all-rounder Johan Botha.
The second edition of the tournament which features four teams- Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, City Kaitak, Hong Kong Island United and Kowloon Cantons will be getting underway on March 8 and would get over by March 12. The first four days will see the teams battling it out among themselves for a spot in the final, which is scheduled to be held on March 12.
(With inputs from PTI and ESPN Cricinfo)