Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
The Kowloon Cantons have become the first Twenty20 franchise outside of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to secure the services of a male Indian player.
Yusuf Pathan obtained a No Objection Certificate from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to play for the team in the second edition of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz, which will run from March 8-12.
“I am very excited about being a part of the Kowloon Cantons family for the T20 in Hong Kong,” Pathan, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, said. “The enthusiasm of the team is amazing and I can’t wait to meet everyone.”
Cricket Hong Kong chief executive Tim Cutler added: “This is amazing news and we are very appreciative of the BCCI in granting this NOC [Non Objection Certificate] – a world first for them to allow a current player to take part in a T20 league outside of India.
“This will go a long way to help the development of the sport in the region and with even more stars still to be announced this is shaping up to be a superb tournament that will be enjoyed by millions across the world.
“The tireless work of the Cantons should also be acknowledged. Without the tenacity of [Cantons CEO] Urvashi Sethi-Sodhi this simply would not have happened and it is great to see the Cantons again lifting the event to greater heights with their hard work.”
Cantons CEO Urvashi Sethi-Sodhi was delighted that the BCCI had granted Pathan permission to feature in the tournament and added that his presence will significantly help boost the popularity of the sport in Hong Kong and draw in more viewers.
“We are delighted that a player from India is joining our team,” she said. “We believe that it is our love for the game and commitment to its development in Hong Kong that has enabled us to get one of the best players of this format of the game.
“An international player and in particular an Indian one attracts world attention which is good for our local cricketers. They now have the opportunity to showcase their talent to a larger audience.”