Where in the world? A look at the latest overseas recruits
As the KFC Big Bash League season draws closer, many clubs have been busy filling the international spots on their rosters. Here's a closer look at the six who have signed in the past week
19 September 2019, 01:46 PM AEST
Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Where he’s from: Khost, Afghanistan. At 18 years of age, Mujeeb already has international caps in all three formats for Afghanistan. He has 11 T20 internationals to his name, with the most recent resulting in a career-best bowling performance of 4-15 against Bangladesh. Bizarrely, Mujeeb has never scored a run in T20I’s. He has been required to bat just twice in 11 starts, finishing unbeaten – yet scoreless – on both occasions.
Where he’s going: Brisbane Heat. Mujeeb was the youngest signing in KFC Big Bash history when he signed with the Brisbane Heat in October 2018. As his grasp of the English language improved, so did his cricket. He was named Player of the Match against the Perth Scorchers after claiming the wickets of Michael Klinger and Mitch Marsh in a disciplined four over spell of 2-10. It wasn’t even his first positive impression. Coming in at No.11 in his first game for the Heat, Mujeeb shocked plenty with an entertaining knock of 27 – his highest score in any form of cricket.
Where has he been: Mujeeb’s last performance came just over a month ago in a T20I tri-series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in Mirpur, Bangladesh. Prior to this, he took part in a 10-match stint with Middlesex in the Vitality Blast, which produced seven wickets at 40.3. It capped off an extended stint in the UK which included a further seven appearances for Afghanistan in the World Cup.
I would like to thank all the @middlesexcricket coaching staff, captain and all the players from the bottom of my heart for being like a family to me. I’ve had one of the best time over here. I wish you the best for the rest of the season. @vitalityblast
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Where he’s from: Afghanistan. 2019 has proved a breakthrough year for the 20-year-old, with debuts for Afghanistan coming in both Test and 50-over cricket. Known for his left-arm wrist spin, Zahir took two wickets in his first ODI and then played a pivotal role in guiding Afghanistan to their second ever Test win with three key wickets in the second innings against Bangladesh.
Where he’s going: Brisbane Heat. The Heat have formed a formidable spin duo for BBL|09, signing Zahir alongside close friend Mujeeb as the team’s first two overseas signings of the summer. However it appears unlikely the pair will regularly share a field together in the BBL. Coach Darren Lehmann confirmed the young spinners would split playing time, with the Heat looking to use the Big Bash’s new contracting rules to sign more international recruits ahead of the season.
Where has he been: You’ll currently find Zahir among the colour and fun of the Caribbean Premier League. The 20-year-old is in the midst of a stint for the Jamaica Tallawahs, playing alongside the likes of Chris Gayle and Andre Russell. He has been rostered by the Rajasthan Royals and Lancashire in 2018, yet this year turned his focus to playing first class cricket for the Mis Ainak Knights in Afghanistan in the lead up to his Test debut.
Where he’s from: Pretoria, South Africa. Morris’ international career for South Africa has covered all three formats and spanned seven years to date. It kicked into gear in 2012 when impressive performances in the South African domestic T20 league led to a debut against New Zealand in Durban. The allrounder has since played 23 T20I’s for his country, as well as 42 One Day Internationals and four Test matches.
Where he’s going: Sydney Thunder. The Thunder have confirmed Morris will link up with England wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler as international signings in BBL|09. Morris said it was a “no-brainer” to sign with the Thunder, adding the Big Bash is a ‘bucket-list’ league which he’s long wished to take part in. Given he is currently only a member of South Africa’s ODI team, Morris should be available for the majority of BBL|09 as the Proteas undertake a four-Test home series against England in December and January.
Where has he been: Everywhere. Morris has already played 44 matches for six different teams or franchises in 2019. The heavy workload received a welcome boost in May when Morris was called into South Africa’s World Cup squad to replace the injured Anrich Nortje. He finished as the Proteas’ leading wicket taker with 13 in eight matches. While most teammates then departed the UK, Morris remained, playing 11 matches for Hampshire in the Vitality Blast.
Where he’s from: Sussex, England. The captain of Hampshire in County cricket, in recent times Vince has found his place on the fringe of England’s side in all three formats. The right-handed batsman has eight T20I’s to his name, where he’s regularly found himself at the top of the batting order. Vince’s only appearance for England in T20’s this year came against Pakistan in May, as he scored 36 from 27 deliveries.
Where he’s going: Sydney Sixers. After having his first taste of the Big Bash as a member of the Thunder in BBL|06, Vince crossed enemy lines and joined the Sixers as an international replacement for Joe Denly last season. Vince pointed to a semi-final loss to the Melbourne Renegades as motivation to return to the Sixers in BBL|09. “Having lost out in the semis in BBL|08 I’m hoping we can go all the way this time around,” he said upon re-signing. “There is a huge amount of talent in the squad and great people at the club.”
Where has he been: Vince recently enjoyed the success of England’s ODI World Cup win, despite not being selected to play in a thrilling final against New Zealand. He batted three times in the tournament, before returning to Hampshire to play in the recent Vitality Blast. He was the eighth highest scorer in the competition with 407 runs at an average of 40.7 and a high score of 87no against Essex.
Where he’s from: Denbighshire, Wales. At 23 years of age, Salt’s aggressive style of batting has proved successful in the early stages of his career. After impressing for Sussex since his debut in 2016, he was added to the England T20I squad in May 2019. While no playing time eventuated, an international debut is presumably in the works if the strong form continues.
Where he’s going: Adelaide Strikers. Salt continues the Sharks-Strikers connection, joining Alex Carey and Rashid Khan as Strikers who have also played together for Sussex in the Vitality Blast. Jason Gillespie also coaches both teams, and looks to have found a reliable top-order replacement for the departing Colin Ingram.
Where has he been: Salt begun the calendar year with his first major overseas T20 stint. He played six games for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League before returning home to spend the season with Sussex. Salt found success in the Vitality Blast with four half centuries, an average of 36.9 and an entertaining strike-rate of 161.11.
Where he’s from: Syangja, Nepal. It would have only taken one look into the crowd at a Melbourne Stars game in BBL|08 to learn of Lamichhane’s proud Nepalese heritage. The small Asian nation may be still developing from a cricketing fandom perspective, but their fans were some of the most vocal when supporting Sandeep and the Stars. Lamichhane has played five T20I’s and six ODI’s at an international level, the most recent against Singapore in qualifying for the 2020 T20 World Cup.
Where he’s going: Melbourne Stars. Lamichhane was a resounding success for the Stars in BBL|08. His energy and enthusiasm matched his bowling prowess, as smiled and celebrated his way to 11 wickets at 16.3 in seven matches. The only problem was an extended absence in the middle of the season when the 19-year-old departed to play in the Bangladesh Premier League. This won’t be the case in BBL|09, with Lamichhane locked in for the entire Melbourne Stars season.
Where he’s been: Lamichhane has travelled the world since the BBL|08 final, appearing in tournaments in Pakistan, India, Singapore, Canada and the Caribbean. He’s collected plenty of wickets along with passport stamps, highlighted by a three wicket haul for the Delhi Capitals which included the scalps of international stars KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Sam Curran.