Black Caps stars Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum will be among a galaxy of international talent to feature in the Caribbean Premier League’s player draft in February.
The New Zealand duo have been confirmed alongside Faf du Plessis, Kumar Sangakkara and Shane Watson as the Twenty20 competition’s initial marquee players for 2016.
The identity of the final marquee player will be announced closer to the draft, which takes place in Barbados on February 11.
All marquee players will enter the player draft and will each be assigned to one of the six franchises from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
McCullum, who is set to retire from the international game, was the first player to reach 1000 runs in T20 history and the New Zealand captain is the only player to date to have scored two international centuries in the shortest format, having also featured in 71 internationals.
Guptill, who holds the world record ODI score of 237 not out achieved against the West Indies, currently lies in fifth place in the ICC T20 batting rankings and has been in splendid form in recent times. He featured for St. Kitts and Nevis in last year’s competition.
The 2016 edition of the CPL is set to be played over a six-week period from the end of June until the first week of August.
Each squad has increased from 15 to 17 players which must include one marquee player, one representative from the ICC Americas, one West Indies Under-19, and five overseas and 10 West Indies qualified players.
Speaking ahead of the player draft, CPL CEO Damien O’Donohoe said he is “hugely excited about the fourth season of the competition” and rated the marquees as the “most exciting line-up to date”.
“For players of the calibre and international standing of Faf du Plessis, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara and Shane Watson to commit to the CPL is a significant endorsement of the growing stature of the CPL internationally,” O’Donohoe said.
“We are excited about welcoming them, as well as a host of local and international talent, to the Caribbean once more. Plans are well underway for this year’s competition and I know that each of the players are enthusiastic about playing to the best of their abilities for the West Indies public and in representing their franchises with pride this summer.”
The full list of players to be enrolled in the draft will be unveiled on Tuesday. (Stuff Sport)