The Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL) yesterday confirmed the overseas trio of Australian Ben Rohrer, Pakistani Ahmed Shehzad and South African Davy Jacobs, as cover players drafted in as replacements for the forthcoming inaugural tournament.
This announcement comes after three Australia players – Steve Smith, Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch, were unable to obtain No Objection Certificates from Cricket Australia. Smith has been drafted in to Australia’s squad for the Ashes series with England, and Finch and Marsh have been selected for the Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Australian Rohrer will replace Smith for the Antigua Hawksbills, Shehzad steps in for Marsh with the Jamaica Tallawahs, and Jacobs comes in for Finch with the Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel. The CPL had already been hit by the withdrawal of Guyanese star batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Rohrer is a hard-hitting left-hander who made his Twenty20 International debut for Australia against the West Indies in March and he played for the Delhi Daredevils in the latest edition of the Indian Premier League.
The 32 year-old featured for the Melbourne Renegades in the last Australia’s Big Bash League, and the Renegades was the franchise that had the consultancy services of Antigua Hawksbills’ coach Sir Vivian Richards, as well as the talent of West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, the Antigua Hawksbills’ franchise player and captain in this year’s Limacol CPL.
The left hander, who hails originally from Sydney, said he was relishing the chance to be part of the Limacol CPL which gets underway on 30 July.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play with Antigua in the CPL,” said Rohrer. “It will be great to get the chance to work with Sir Viv again, as well as (with former Australia captain) Ricky Ponting and my Renegades teammate Marlon Samuels.”
Antigua Hawksbills’ assistant coach Phil DeFreitas said, “Ben has shown himself to be a real talent in the shortest form of the game, and that ability earned him international recognition earlier this year.
“He is well known to both Sir Vivian Richards and Marlon Samuels and impressed them both during the Big Bash League. He has the ability to control the innings and also to find the boundary regularly and he offers us a really excellent option with the bat.”
Rohrer made 295 runs in the Big Bash League, the fifth-highest aggregate among the six sides, and his strike-rate was a remarkable 152.09 runs per hundred balls. He has also represented the Sydney Sixers both domestically and in the Champions League T20.
The Limacol CPL will be a perfect opportunity for Shehzad to put himself firmly back in the minds of the Pakistan selectors after he missed out on selection for the ICC Champions Trophy squad. At the tender age of 21, the right-handed batsman played for his country as recently as March in a T20I against South Africa. He has played 19 ODIs and 11 T20Is and was part of the Pakistan squad for both the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 and the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009, with Pakistan winning the latter event.
He has two ODI hundreds, one of which was against the West Indies in St Lucia in 2011, and he also has two T20 hundreds and a superb strike-rate of 134.23 runs per hundred balls.
Reflecting on the change to the Jamaica Tallawahs squad, Coach Paul Nixon said, “Losing Shaun is a shame but we have got a like-for-like replacement with Ahmed Shehzad who is perfect for the team’s balance.
“He has special ability as a top order batsman, Chris [Gayle] knows him well and we believe he will be a match-winner who can really make his mark on the world stage. He is a very gifted and classy player and we feel he is the last piece in our jigsaw.”
Jacobs is another vastly experienced Twenty20 player who was unlucky to miss out on a spot with one of the six franchises in the draft that took place earlier this month.
The 30 year-old, who captains the Warriors in South African domestic cricket, is capable of batting anywhere in the order and is an extremely capable wicketkeeper.
He led the Warriors to their first-ever trophies in 2010-11 with a limited-overs double, including the domestic Twenty20 title, and has played for both the Mumbai Indians in the IPL and Northamptonshire in English county cricket.
Trinidad & Tobago Red Steel coach Gordon Greenidge said of the change to his squad, “Davy Jacobs is a proven performer in Twenty20 cricket. He will add steel to the Red Steel dressing room and bring a winning mentality to the squad, as well as vast experience. The fact he can bat anywhere in the top-order is great as it provides us with real flexibility and I like the balance of our squad.
“We have top-quality internationals like Dwayne Bravo and Ross Taylor, the pace of Fidel Edwards, the exciting hitting power of Ireland’s Kevin O’Brien and two of the best Twenty20 bowlers going around in Kevon Cooper and Samuel Badree. It is a great blend and we cannot wait to get started,” he declared.
The inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League starts on July 30 in Barbados and concludes on August 24 in Trinidad.