The new-look KFC T20 Max series next month has unveiled five international recruits who will test their skills in Queensland Premier Cricket.
A pair of current Indian Premier League bowlers and three Papua New Guinea internationals, fresh from making the semi-finals of the ICC World T20 qualifiers in Zimbabwe this month, will link with clubs to take advantage of the pre-season competition on offer.
Left-arm pacemen Chetan Sakariya (Rajasthan Royals) and Mukesh Choudhary (Chennai Super Kings) will spend time in Brisbane next month as part of an exchange with the renowned MRF Pace Academy.
Player and coaching exchanges between the MRF Pace Foundation and Cricket Australia have been in place for more than 20 years, with the two Indian players marking the resumption of the relationship that was paused due to COVID.
The initial Australians who attended the first exchange in 1992 were Glenn McGrath and Paul Wilson, when the great Dennis Lillee was the head coach. McGrath subsequently took over as head coach following the end of his illustrious bowling career.
As well as playing in the KFC T20 Max competition, the Indian duo will train at the Bupa National Cricket Centre and join in with the Queensland Bulls pre-season preparations.
Sakariya, 24, made his debut for India last year in T20 and One Day Internationals in the series against Sri Lanka.
Both pacemen played in the most recent IPL tournament, where Rajasthan were beaten in the Final by Gujarat Titans.
Sunshine Coast will host Sakariya while Wynnum-Manly will welcome Choudhary.
Sandgate-Redcliffe has secured a trio of Barramundis for the T20 competition, with Norman Vanua, Chad Soper and Charles Amini Jnr boosting the Gators.
They are all regulars in the PNG national side, which finished third at the World Cup qualifiers, with Soper taking 3-11 to help defeat the USA in their play-off.
However, the third-placing meant they missed making the main draw of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup that will be held in Australia in October.
Amini, a third-generation PNG representative, is a leg-spinning allrounder, while Vanua and Soper are both right-arm pace bowlers.
The influx of players into the KFC T20 Max also features more than a dozen current or recent KFC Big Bash League contracted players as well as regional and country representatives and other interstate recruits.
Due to the popularity of the concept and a surge in the number of players expressing interest, Queensland Cricket today updated the competition rules to allow each Premier club to sign an additional interstate or international recruit, moving from three players per club to four.
Several regionally based players have already brokered arrangements with teams, while contracted Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat players will be available for selection as part of their pre-season preparations.
Matches will be played at Premier club grounds and under lights at the newly redeveloped Allan Border Field.
Games will be played across three weeks from 18 August to 4 September, with the Final at Allan Border Field coinciding with the free Brisbane Heat Family Day.
The Heat will keep open two contract spots on its 2022-23 list to provide opportunities for players who impress to potentially join the BBL club.
Among the recruits for the KFC T20 Max competition announced to date are current or recent BBL contracted players such as:
Jordan Silk (Sydney Sixers), Beau Webster (Melbourne Stars), Cameron Boyce (Melbourne Renegades), Ben Cutting (Sydney Thunder), Liam Guthrie (Brisbane Heat), Nick Larkin (Melbourne Stars), Clint Hinchliffe (Melbourne Stars), Josh Lalor (Melbourne Renegades), Nick Hobson (Perth Scorchers), Jake Lehmann (Brisbane Heat), Arjun Nair (Sydney Thunder), Chris Sabburg (Perth Scorchers), Nick Bertus (Sydney Sixers), Ryan Gibson (Adelaide Strikers), Spencer Johnson (Adelaide Strikers) and Nathan McSweeney (Brisbane Heat).