Pokhara Rhinos have included three Pakistani nationals with a haul of Twenty20 experience for this season’s Everest Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament.
Rhinos, which has veteran left arm spinner Shakti Gauchan as their skipper and marquee player, have roped in right handed batsman Israrullah, left arm medium pacer Taj Wali and middle order batsman Aasif Ali.
All three Pakistani cricketers have collectively played 134 Twenty20s between them with Ali playing the most number of matches — 66. Ali also has a Twenty20 century to his name. Ali and Wali play for Faisalabad Wolves in the Pakistani Super League and Israrullah plays for Peshawar Panthers.
Israrullah has also played in 68 First Class matches and has a highest score of 222 runs. Ali and Wali have also experience of playing in First Class and List A games.
In a squad that already includes hard hitters Binod Bhandari and Saurav Khanal along with opener Sunil Dhamala and middle order batsman Rajesh Pulami Magar who can anchor the innings, Rhinos have now become a lethal force for this season’s EPL that kicks off from Monday at the TU Stadium.
The Pakistani trio is fresh from playing competitive cricket having participated in multiple tournaments this year. While other teams who have unveiled their international recruits are either in the twilight of their career or have been out of competitive cricket for a long time.
Former Sri Lankan cricketer Farveez Maharoof is the biggest name so far associated with EPL. Maharoof was unveiled by Kathmandu Kings XI and will lead the team. Maharoof has 22 Test appearances, played in 109 ODIs and eight Twenty20 Internationals for the Sri Lankan side.
Kings XI’s other two foreign signings are Akshay Fernandez — also from Sri Lanka — and Sagar Kumar of India who have played domestic cricket in their countries. Nepal’s fast bowler Sompal Kami is the marquee player of the team.
Chitwan Tigers also unveiled their foreign signings on Saturday having roped in three Indian cricketers — Praveen Gupta, Pramesh Kumar and Shavez Khan. Gupta, a 2002 ICC U-19 World Cup player for India, is the most experienced among the three having played 53 First Class matches and 12 Twenty20s along with 46 List A Games.
Lalitpur Patriots, where national team opener Gyanendra Malla is the captain and marquee player, has former Delhi Daredevils cricketer Yogesh Nagar as their big signing. Other two cricketers include Jaykishan Kolsawala and Subodh Bhati.