Clean-hitting Kent batsman Darren Stevens is one of only a handful of English county players to have been snapped up by the six new franchises set to contest next month’s inaugural Bangladesh Premier League T20 event.
The 35-year-old Leicestershire-born right-hander was sold for what looks a bargain US$25,000 at last week’s player auction to the Dhaka Gladiators franchise, ahead of the competition which is scheduled to start on February 10 with a grand final in Mirpur Cricket Stadium 10 days later.
Stevens, who will line up alongside West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, Pakistan seamer Rana Naved-ul-Hasan and Aussie leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, has already been assigned a middle-order batting berth in a team that cost a collective US$1.05 million.
“After missing out on a few other similar opportunities I’m just very pleased to have been given this chance,” said Stevens, the linchpin of Kent’s Twenty20 Cup-winning side in 2007.
“I see it as a door of opportunity and a chance to pit my wits and skills against some of the best cricketers around.”
Stevens and the Dhaka franchise will compete in the three-team Europa Group in which each side will play each other twice. The top two finishers will qualify for the semi-finals.
Stevens will come up against some familiar faces, however. His county team-mate Azhar Mahmood has been signed by Sylhet Royals as an eleventh hour replacement following the withdrawal of West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy. Ireland’s former Kent wicketkeeper Niall O’Brien was purchased by the Khulna franchise for US$80,000.