Muzarabani stares at life-changing deal

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Blessing Muzarabani (right) celebrates after taking a wicket

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
FAST bowler Blessing Muzarabani is on course to becoming the fourth Zimbabwean cricketer to make it into the money-spinning Indian Premier League (IPL) after he was picked for this year’s auction.

The 25-year-old is the only Zimbabwe to have been shortlisted for an auction that will take place on February 12 and 13, in Bengaluru.

In its 15th season, the IPL will have a mega auction where the 10 franchises, including two new ones, battle for the top players.

Muzarabani is valued at 50 lakh, which translates to over US$66 000, ahead of his first auction for arguably the biggest professional men’s Twenty20 cricket league.

The pace bowler has been one of the most sought-after Zimbabwean cricketers at some of the top competitions around the world and is currently competing in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) with the defending champions Multan Sultans.

After making his debut in the PSL and helping the Multan Sultans to their maiden triumph in the competition, Muzarabani had an opportunity to take part in the Abu Dhabi T10 League late last year, but did not get clearance from Zimbabwe Cricket to feature in the tournament.

Interestingly, Muzarabani was lured to the PSL by legendary former Zimbabwe star batman Andy Flower, who is the coach at Multan Sultans, and has been appointed head coach of the new franchise Lucknow Super Giants.

Flower could give his country man a chance at the new IPL franchise.

Muzarabani impressed in his first season in the PSL last year after he finished the tournament with an impressive 10 wickets in six matches, with best figures of 3/31.

If he is picked at the auction, Muzarabani will join the elite list of Zimbabweans who have been involved in the IPL. These include former national team captains Tatenda Taibu, Ray Price and Brendan Taylor.

Taibu and Price featured for Kolkata Knight Riders in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Taylor, who was last week handed a three-and-a-half year ban from the game on corruption and doping charges by the International Cricket Council, was signed by Sunrisers Hydrebard in 2015, but never played a single match for the franchise.

A key member of the Zimbabwe cricket side in the past couple of years, Muzarabani, who had a stint at English county side Northamptonshire, has played 21 T20Is for the country, managing 25 wickets to date. Muzarabani also has 30 ODI and six Test caps for Zimbabwe.

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