The Melbourne Renegades have boosted their overseas contingent for the upcoming BBL season with the signings of two wristspinners in Imran Tahir and the Afghanistan left-armer Noor Ahmad. Tahir will only be available post-Christmas, and Ahmad is expected to fill in for him until then.
The signings fall on extreme ends of the age spectrum. The South African Tahir, who retired from international cricket following the 2019 World Cup, is 41, while Ahmad is just 15.
“Imran Tahir has excelled in the T20 format right across the world and he’ll provide another genuine wicket-taking threat,” Renegades coach Michael Klinger said. “We’ve [also] been tracking Noor Ahmad closely for more than a year now and although he’s in the early stages of his career, he’s an exciting prospect and he has a few tricks that’ll make life difficult for batsmen.”
The Renegades still have another overseas spot vacant despite the return of Mohammad Nabi to their ranks, following the recent ruling that allows BBL clubs to field three foreign players in their XI.
Tahir, who is currently in the UAE playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, is yet to appear in the BBL despite having played more than 300 T20 games and having become a much-sought-after property in T20 leagues over the years.
“I’ve watched the Big Bash from afar [and] have admired how competitive it is,” he said. “I’m looking forward to joining my new Renegades team-mates and working hard with them to produce a successful season.”
Ahmad, meanwhile, made his T20 debut for the Mis Ainak Knights in the Shpageeza League last year, when his side won the title under Nabi. That season, Ahmad was the third-highest wicket-taker for the Knights with eight wickets, and returned an impressive economy rate of 6.48. This season, he took 11 wickets as the Knights ended as runners-up. In 15 T20 games so far, Ahmad has 19 wickets at an average of 21.42 and an economy rate of 7.11.
Ahmad was set to play in this year’s Caribbean Premier League after being drafted by the St Lucia Zouks, but was forced to miss the tournament after failing to secure a transit visa through the UK.
“The Renegades fans and followers of the Big Bash may not know much about Noor at this stage, but I can tell you [that] he is a very exciting talent who I feel has a big future in the game,” Nabi said of Ahmad.
The BBL begins on December 3, with the Renegades playing the Adelaide Strikers in the opening game of the season.
Source: ESPN Crickinfo