England’s World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan was named as the Dublin Chiefs’ ‘icon’ player at the draft for the inaugural Euro T20 Slam tournament on Friday.
The newest Twenty20 competition on the global cricket calendar, the Euro T20 Slam will see six teams from three countries – Ireland, Holland and Scotland – compete over 33 games between August 30 and September 22.
The Chiefs and Belfast Titans will play their home games at Dublin’s Malahide Cricket Club, the Amsterdam Knights and Rotterdam Rhinos will be based in Amsterdam and the Edinburgh Rocks and Glasgow Giants will play at The Grange Club in Edinburgh.
Backed by Indian investors, each team was allocated one icon player and one ‘marquee’ player – at a cost of £108,000 and £92,000, respectively – and then given the chance to draft five more international players and nine ‘local’ players.
With Dublin’s marquee player being the world’s top-ranked batsman Babar Azam, the Chiefs looked like the early favourites before the draft even started and Dublin-born Morgan was selected.
The impression was reinforced when they picked Pakistan’s star bowler ohammad Amir and former England left-armer Harry Gurney in the first two rounds of the draft.
Amsterdam’s icon/marquee duo is Australian Shane Watson and South Africa’s Imran Tahir, while Rotterdam have Afghanistan captain Rashid Khan and Luke Ronchi, who has played for Australia and New Zealand.
Belfast’s star players are big-hitting Pakistani Shahid Afridi and South Africa’s JP Duminy, Edinburgh have New Zealand’s Martin Guptill and Australian Chris Lynn, and Glasgow will be led by former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and South African bowler Dale Steyn.
The first player actually picked in the draft, which took place at a hotel near Heathrow and was compered by Darren Gough, was Ben Cutting. The Australian all-rounder has starred in T20 competitions around the world and will receive £64,000 for three weeks’ work for Amsterdam.
Essex all-rounder Ravi Bopara was the second player selected, by Glasgow, with Amir next, then Pakistan’s Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Nawaz, before New Zealand’s Corey Anderson completed the first round of picks.
Luke Wright, perhaps the first English player to make his fortune on the international T20 circuit, was the second Englishman drafted, going in the second round to Belfast, with Gurney, Samit Patel and Tymal Mills the other English players taken in the first 15 picks.
Each squad will have 16 to 18 players, with a maximum of seven overseas stars – but they can only play five of those overseas players in any one game. The cheapest overseas star will get £16,000 for the tournament, while local players will earn between £28,000 and £8,000.
The organisers of the tournament have already indicated that next year’s competition will shift forward to July to avoid clashing with the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new 100-ball format.