Rashid Khan, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Najibullah Zadran are among the top eight Afghan players retained by their Shpageeza Cricket League (SCL) teams ahead of the eighth season of the tournament.
In the player draft for the tournament, held on June 10, a total of 142 players, domestic and uncapped, were drafted in five categories by franchises, now numbering eight after the addition of two new franchises.
The players retained before the draft – besides Rashid (Band-e-Amir Dragons), Gurbaz (Kabul Eagles, the defending champions) and Najibullah (Speenghar Tigers) – were Mohammad Shahzad (Mis Ainak Knights), Darwish Rasooli (Amo Sharks) and Samiullah Shinwari (Bost Defenders), while the two new teams, Pamir Zalmi and Hindukush Stars, picked Shapoor Zadran and Hamid Hassan respectively as the retained players.
Among these players, Shahzad was selected in the highest category, Icon, along with ten others: Mohammad Nabi (Kabul Eagles), Fazalhaq Farooqi (Bost Defenders), Hashmatullah Shahidi (Pamir Zalmi), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Hindukush Stars) , Usman Ghani (Speenghar Tigers), Hazratullah Zazai (Hindukush Stars), Asghar Afghan (Mis Ainak Knights), Karim Janat (Band-e-Amir Dragons), Ihsanullah Janat (Amo Sharks) and Noor Ali Zadran (Pamir Zalmi).
In addition, two players were drafted in the Diamond category by each franchise, three in Platinum, four in Gold and six in the Silver category.
The Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a statement that “it is good to note that the SCL2022 is scheduled to take place from July 15 to August 2 in Kabul.” Kabul Eagles beat Mis Ainak Knights in the final the last time the tournament was played, in 2020, making it their second title, after 2016. Mis Ainak Knights and Speenghar Tigers have also won the tournament twice each, while Band-e-Amir Dragons have won it once.