In a move that may have ramifications over how BCCI deals with Indian players for many flourishing T20 leagues across the globe, the board has released all-rounder Yusuf Pathan for the Hong Kong Blitz T20 competition where he will represent Kowloon Cantons. BCCI had previously maintained that Indian players were only available for the Indian Premier League (IPL) but has made an exception for Yusuf.
In the process, Kowloon Canton have become the first franchise outside India to have signed an Indian player and they’ve certainly got a big catch in Yusuf who has over the years shown his exemplary hitting in the IPL for Kolkata Knight Riders. In the 2016 edition of IPL, he scored 361 runs in 15 matches with highest score of 63 with three fifties along the way.
“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,” said Cricket Hong Kong chief executive Tim Cutler. “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.”
“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,” reported South China Morning Post.
Pathan joins a squad that already features another legendary big-hitter in Shahid Afridi alongside England’s Tymal Mills and Calum MacLeod of Scotland.
“I am very excited about being a part of the Kowloon Cantons family for the T20 in Hong Kong,” Pathan is reported to have said. “The enthusiasm of the team is amazing and I can’t wait to meet everyone.”
Other teams in the league are Hung Hom JD Jaguars, Galaxy Gladiators Lantau, Hong Kong Island United and City Kaitak.