Courtesy: APL Afghanistan star players during the Afghanistan Premier League T20 draft at the Hilton Hotel yesterday. Image Credit: Courtesy: APL

Dubai: Chris Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi, the three of the finest Twenty20 stars in world cricket, were sold in a flash in the Afghanistan Premier League (APL) players draft that was held at the Hilton Hotel in Habtoor City yesterday.

Kandahar got McCullum while Gayle went for Balkh and Russell got sold to Nangarhar. Afghanistan star player Rashid Khan was picked by Kabul.

Afghanistan Cricket Board and Snixer Sports held the players draft for its inaugural edition consisting of 23 matches.

The first season of the league is scheduled to take place from October 5 to 23 in the UAE. A total of five teams representing five regions of Afghanistan will play in the tournament. These franchises are Kabul, Kandahar, Nangarhar, Paktia and Balkh.

Seventeen players from the UAE and 98 players from Afghanistan are up for grabs in the inaugural player draft. Over 400 players are available for draft from 25 countries which include Afghanistan, the UAE, Netherlands, Scotland, Canada, Uman, Kenya, United States, Scotland, Germany, Hong Kong, Nepal, Italy, Oman, South Africa, England, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ireland, West Indies, Zimbabwe, New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan.

Each team will comprise of a minimum of 17 players and a maximum of 20 players. Elaborating on the draft, Shafiqullah Stanikzai, the CEO of Afghanistan Cricket Board, said: “Each owner is supposed to have a minimum $5,55,000 and maximum $700,000 player purse. The franchise will have an additional purse of $145,000 to purchase three players and if there is an unspent amount after picking the entire team, the same can be retained.

Ashish Sethi, the CEO of Snixer Sports, the investment partner for the APL, said: “We have seen phenomenal interest from players from around the world. Afghanistan has been growing in stature not just as a cricket-loving country but also in serious talent. Players like Rashid (Khan), (Mohammad) Asghar are a testament to their seriousness and dedication in the International arena. This league will not just provide long term exposure to the but also be a good source of entertainment to the International audiences”.

The final squads of the APLT20 will be announced on completion of the draft.