Dubai: Twelve of the world’s biggest names in cricket have been confirmed as marquee players to play in the inaugural edition of the Masters Champions League (MCL).
The 12 players include Sourav Ganguly (India), Virender Sehwag (India), Michael Vaughan (England), Graeme Smith (South Africa), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), Heath Streak (Zimbabwe), Graeme Swann (England), Abdul Razzaq (Pakistan), Azhar Mahmood (Pakistan), Scott Styris (New Zealand), Shoaib Akhtar (Pakistan).
In all, the list features three from Pakistan, two each from India, England and Sri Lanka, one each from New Zealand, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The marquee players’ list includes six former international captains including India’s Ganguly, Vaughan of England, Smith from South Africa, the Sri Lankan duo of Sangakkara and Jayawardene, Zimbabwean Streak.
The others in the list include ex-Indian dasher Sehwag, former England off-spinner Swann, New Zealand’s Styris Pakistan’s pair of all-rounders Razzaq and Mahmood.
Also in the list is Shoaib Akhtar, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express. Akhtar was considered the fastest bowler to have played the sport and made a long-lasting impact on world cricket. He picked nearly 430 international wickets in his career and is most remembered for bowling the fastest ball in cricket history, clocking a speed of 161.3 km/hr.
All 12 marquee players will now be pre-assigned to the six teams. The six sides will be named after following six sun signs (Libra, Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Virgo, Gemini)
Two marquee players per six sides will be allocated before the date of the inaugural player auction, scheduled to be held shortly.
Commenting on the marquee players’ list, Zarah Shah, MCL CEO, said: “It is indeed a privilege for us to have these names headlining the very first season of MCL. To especially have six of the most successful captains of their respective countries as part of the marquee players’ list is a big moment for the tournament. The legacy that these players left behind in their respective countries was phenomenal. I am sure they will have a similar long lasting impact in the Emirates. Also the other names in the list are world beaters who have stolen the show with the bat, ball or both. I welcome all of them to the MCL family.”