Dhaka Gladiators reconfirm availability of Afridi, Ajmal

January 23, 2012

Dhaka Gladiators reconfirmed the availability of Pakistan superstar Shahid Afridi in the first edition of Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) in the wake of his presence in Bangladesh once again being questioned. A media release sent by the Gladiators on Sunday said that Afridi and his compatriot Saeed Ajmal will be available for the Dhaka franchise on February 28 and 29.
It added that every necessary steps needed to make the duo’s availability on the above mentioned dates have already been taken by the franchise and their travel arrangements have already been confirmed.
Dhaka Gladiators however will not get the duo’s service if they cannot overcome the hurdles of the group phase.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy had already withdrawn his name from the BPL for the sake of playing first class cricket in his country. Sammy, sold at US$ 55,000 was replaced by Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood for Sylhet Royals.
On the other hand, Barisal Burners confirmed their two more foreign cricketers on Sunday – – Shane Harwood of Australia and Phil Mustard of England. Barisal picked up six foreign players instead of mandatory eight during the auction. They were asked to fill their quota within 48 hours.
However Sammy’s choice to opt out of the BPL and the unavailability of Afridi and Saeed Ajmal in the group phase meant the attraction of BPL might have been reduced day by day. Chris Gayle also will play mere two or three matches. Some other Pakistan stars like Shoaib Malik, Sohail Tanvir or Abdur Razzak also cannot take part in the first edition of money-spinning league if they are called up from the national team.
Sammy’s main reason behind opting out the BPL was the first class tournament of his country which will kick off on February 3.  Moreover West Indies will play an ODI series against Australia starting from March 16.
Most of the current West Indian stars were sold during the auction. As their skipper leads the way, they also might follow his example.
Meanwhile, The BPL governing council in a meeting on Saturday fixed the price of Icon Players of the six franchises. As per the decision of the BPL Governing Council the six icon players will all receive five percent more than the highest valued Bangladeshi cricketer in the BPL T20 Auction held on 19 January.
Allrounder Nasir Hossain has been bought by Khulna Royal Bengals for US$ 2 lakh which was the highest price for a Bangladeshi player in the Auction.
In that case, the six icon players- Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashraful, Shahriar Nafees and Alok Kapali will get US$ 2.10 lakh.

-With The Independent input

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