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Qalandars land Chris Morris, Fakhar Zaman in T20 Global League draft

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Big-hitting South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris and Pakistan poster boy Fakhar Zaman headline the Durban Qalandars squad picked for the inaugural T20 Global League season in Cape Town on Sunday.

At an intriguing Player Draft ceremony held at the Westin Hotel, the eight 18-man squads for the competition were finalised, with Pakistan’s former captain Mohammad Hafeez, Englishman Sam Billings and Mitchell McClenaghan of New Zealand completing the foreign quota for franchise owner Fawad Rana and his team.

The Qalandars had already signed up England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan as their Foreign Marquee Player at the Mini Draft on Saturday night, while their Proteas Marquee Player, Hashim Amla, was pre-determined back in April.

Morris was talked about before the weekend as one of the most sought after players and the Qalandars, who had the first pick after an order of selection lottery was held in the build-up, wasted little time in snapping him immediately. The 30-year-old has a batting strike rate of over 150 in T20 cricket, while his average with the ball is 21.72.

But Zaman is the man that got the owner particularly excited. The 27-year-old one of the hottest properties in the game at present after playing a leading role when Pakistan stunned the world to win the recent ICC Champions Trophy in England.

He scored a century in a man-of-the-match performance in the final at Lords, helping his country beat India and Rana was delighted with his capture.

“I always wanted to show to Durbanites who this player is,” he explained. “He is a new sensation in the cricketing world, he made a century against India in the final and is the pride of Lahore and indeed the pride of Pakistan.”

Local players Daryn Dupavillon, Mthokozisi Shezi, Prenelan Subrayan and Cody Chetty will give the Qalandars some expertise of the conditions in Durban, while players like Junior Dala, Qaasim Adams and Nicky van den Bergh are experienced domestic players in the country.

Rana added: “I'm really happy with that selection and I think we have a wonderful squad. My team is very happy, I am happy because we have a good mix of some young players and some experienced players, so I think it’s a very balanced team.”

The T20 Global League will be staged during November and December across eight cities in South Africa.

The full Durban Qalandars squad is (in order of Draft pick): Hashim Amla (Marquee), Eoin Morgan (International Marquee), Chris Morris, Sam Billings, Mitchell McClenaghan, Bjorn Fortuin, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Junior Dala, Qaasim Adams, Migael Pretorius, Nicky van den Bergh, Prenelan Subrayan, Kelly Smuts, Marques Ackerman, Daryn Dupavillon, Mthokozisi Shezi, Cody Chetty.