Pakistan’s Twenty20 International (T20I) captain, Mohammad Hafeez, is the latest major international star to join the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The 32-year-old all-rounder is one of only eight players in history to have scored more than 1000 international runs in the shortest form of the game and the only one from Pakistan.
Hafeez joins Australia duo Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist, together with former New Zealand captain Ross Taylor, as international franchise players already contracted for the inaugural CPL, which will take place between 29 July and 26 August across the Caribbean.
Hafeez underlined his top-quality credentials in Twenty20 cricket as recently as last month when he blitzed the South Africa attack, scoring 86 – his highest score in the T20Is – from only 51 balls at Centurion with nine fours and four sixes before taking 3-25 with his off-spin.
His Twenty20 career strike-rate of 130.73 runs per hundred balls marks him down as one of the most dangerous top-order players in the modern game while his bowling economy rate of 6.31 underlines his skills in that area too.
He has captained his country in 14 T20Is as well as one Test, against Sri Lanka in Galle last year, and is in second place in the International Cricket Council’s rankings of all-rounders in both T20Is and ODIs, behind Shane Watson of Australia in the former and Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan in the latter.
“The World T20 in the Caribbean allowed me to experience playing T20 in the Caribbean and I am looking forward to playing there once again,” says Hafeez.
“The people in the West Indies love their cricket and I am sure the fans will get behind their teams. I also hope that cricket fans back in Pakistan and around the world will follow me during this first CPL season, and join in the fun.”
Hafeez needs just four wickets to complete the ODI double of 1000 runs and 100 wickets and he has more than 3000 runs in that form of the game, as well as a further 2002 runs in Test cricket.
His most recent Twenty20 action came late last month when he led Lahore Lions to the semi-finals of Pakistan’s domestic tournament where they lost out to eventual champions Faisalabad Wolves.
Hafeez brings not only all-round quality to the CPL but also vast experience as he has now been playing international cricket for a decade, making his debut in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates in a ODI tournament that followed the 2003 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Also already contracted for the CPL are six West Indies franchise players: Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Marlon Samuels.
Some 90 players will be contracted to play in the CPL. Each of the six Franchise teams will be comprised of 15 players. All teams are required to have a minimum number of local players from their particular franchise country. At least four of them must be under the age of 23, and teams can also field a maximum of four international players. The remainder of the team must consist of regional and/or local players. The six franchise countries named to date are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.