BIRMINGHAM: As many as eight Pakistani players will feature in this year’s edition of the Vitality Blast that is set to commence from Saturday (today) at Birmingham’s Edgbaston stadium.
This will be the 21st edition of the tournament which was the first precision T20 league when it started in June 2003 as the Twenty20 Cup.
Pakistan’s ace fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, experienced pacer Hasan Ali, stylish left-hand opening batsman Shan Masood, all-rounder Shadab Khan, left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, leg-spinner Usama Mir, young guns Haider Ali and Zaman Khan will be in action in the tournament which will last for nine weeks.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has signed for Nottinghamshire Outlaws for this year’s Blast.
In the 2020 edition of the tournament, Shaheen briefly represented Hampshire Hawks. In a match against Middlesex, he took four wickets on four deliveries.
Left-handed opening batter Shan Masood is leading Yorkshire Vikings this year.
Masood also featured in last year’s Vitality Blast and was the highest run scorer for the Derbyshire Falcons. He scored 547 runs and led Falcons to quarter finals.
Experienced Test cricketer Hasan Ali who’s signed a contract with Warwickshire CCC for this season will feature in the T20 tournament as well.
Right-arm pacer Hasan will be in action for Birmingham Bears and is likely to lead the pace attack along with Chris Woakes.
All-rounder Shadab Khan has signed a deal with Sussex Sharks and will be representing them for the entirety of the tournament.
Right-arm leg spinner Shadab who leads Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) played for Yorkshire the last season.
Derbyshire have signed explosive batsman Haider Ali for this county season. Haider will also play for Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast tournament.
The 22-year-old has played 33 T20Is for Pakistan. He has played for Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings in the PSL.
Haider was drafted by Derbyshire coach Mickey Arthur who is also the director of the Pakistan men’s cricket team.
Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar will be in action again for Gloucestershire CCC. Zafar who’s cemented his place in the Gloucestershire fold with his all-round performance in the last three seasons will be in action for Gloucester Gorillas in the blast.
The 21-year-old pacer has been drafted by Derbyshire Falcons for the tournament along with Haider Ali.
The young pace sensation is a product of Lahore Qalandars’ players development program and recently made his international debut for Pakistan in the T20I series against Afghanistan.
Leg spinner Usama Mir will represent Worcestershire Rapids in the blast.
Mir has played six ODIs for Pakistan and has featured for Karachi Kings and recently Multan Sultans in the PSL.