Usman Shinwari, Faheem Ashraf bag contracts with Melbourne Renegades
Melbourne Renegades have bolstered their squad with the addition of Pakistan duo Usman Shinwari and Faheem Ashraf for the upcoming season of the Big Bash League.
Shinwari, who has represented Pakistan in 17 ODIs and 16 T20Is, has signed with defending champions Renegades for the first seven games following which he will be replaced with England quick Harry Gurney.
All-rounder Faheem will turn out for the Renegades for the opening eight games of the competition before being replaced by Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi.
Left-arm speedster Shinwari was part of the Renegades line-up in the last BBL edition where he recorded the fastest ball of the tournament with a rapid 151 km/hr delivery.
The 25-year-old managed to grab eight wickets in seven games at an impressive economy rate of 6.14 in his maiden BBL stint and will be hoping to embellish his record in Australia.
Meanwhile, Faheem is expected to make his BBL debut soon after having plied his trade in England's Vitality Blast earlier this summer.
Regarded as a skillful pace bowler in the shorter format, Faheem has picked 93 wickets in 83 T20 games over the last four years.
Faheem's power-hitting credentials lend another exciting facet to his game as he boasts a strike rate in excess of 135 in T20 cricket.
Nabi, who will fill in for Faheem at the backend of the tournament, has already played for the Renegades in two seasons amassing 316 runs and picking up 16 wickets for them.
Gurney, on the other hand, was part of the title-winning squad in the previous season and was used as a death overs specialist by his captain.
Renegades' newly appointed head coach Michael Klinger said: “I’m pleased with how we’re shaping up. Mohammad Nabi and Harry Gurney showed their class last season so we’re glad to have them on board for the second half of the home and away season and hopefully finals."
“After winning a title, the competition for spots in the XI is going to be fierce and we feel we’ve got plenty of options to cover the challenges that we’ll be confronted with throughout the season.”
Renegades List Manager Andrew Lynch also echoed Klinger's thoughts and praised the abilities of Shinwari and Faheem.
“We’re very pleased with the depth we’ll have at our disposal this season,” he said.
“Shinwari got a taste of the conditions last season and was impressive for us early in the tournament while Faheem Ashraf has performed well against quality opposition, so we’re excited to see what he’ll produce in Australian conditions.”