Big Bash League: The Origins of the Hobart Hurricanes’ Relationship with Pakistani Players


Big Bash League: In August, the Hobart Hurricanes generated buzz at the Big Bash League draft when they adopted an unconventional strategy and recruited players from Pakistan, a group of cricketers underutilized.

The selection of Pakistani players by the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL draft surprised many and received mixed reviews. Some saw it as an interesting tactic, while others needed clarification about why this strategy was considered noteworthy.

However, it’s important to note that there are no restrictions on signing Pakistani players in the BBL. The Hurricanes ended up signing three Pakistani players – Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, and Faheem Ashraf – with 181 international caps, making them the most internationally experienced players among all the teams’ picks.

The Sydney Thunder was the next closest with 144 caps, while the Adelaide Strikers had 115 caps. The Hurricanes targeted Shadab Khan, a power-hitting, spin-bowling all-rounder, in their draft strategy. They had discussions over several months and ultimately decided that he was the player they wanted to add to their team.

Big Bash League: Picking of Pakistani Players

The Hobart Hurricanes had the last pick on auction day, but they managed to secure their top target, Shadab Khan, a global superstar and powerful spin-bowling all-rounder. They also signed Asif Ali, a middle-order batter representing Pakistan in the recent T20 World Cup.

These picks surprised many, but they were the best-case scenario for the Hurricanes. The team has a strong connection to Pakistan, with the head of the strategy, Ricky Ponting being a vocal advocate of Pakistan’s white-ball talent and assistant coach Darren Berry having spent two years coaching at Islamabad United with the late Dean Jones.

All three Pakistani players – Shadab, Asif, and Faheem Ashraf – are clubmates at Islamabad, which can help make the transition to a new team easier. The Hurricanes focused on creating a welcoming and friendly environment for the Pakistani players to ensure they would feel comfortable and supported during their time with the team.

The availability of Pakistani players was a key factor in the Hurricanes’ drafting strategy, but this has been partially disrupted by the unexpected inclusion of Faheem in the Test squad and Shadab’s departure for a white-ball series in January.

Concern for Pakistani Players

There is a concern that as the Indian Premier League (IPL) expands, Pakistani players may be denied opportunities to play in global leagues and become marginalized in the world of cricket.

While it’s uncertain how realistic this fear is, it’s still a concern for Pakistani players and could impact their decisions about which leagues to join. The home white-ball series against New Zealand and the West Indies may also limit the availability of top Pakistani players, making board-owned tournaments like the Hundred and the BBL more attractive options.

The BBL, in particular, has the added advantage of offering high-quality players from Pakistan who is available to play.

This raises the question of why teams continue to follow traditional approaches when they could benefit from exploring alternative options.

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