Southern Punjab sign Australia speedster Aaron Summers for Pakistan Cup
Australia's rising pace sensation Aaron Summers has become the first foreign player to sign up to play in Pakistan's revamped domestic cricket structure as he has inked a deal with Southern Punjab for the Pakistan Cup.
Summers, who played two matches for Karachi Kings during the 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL), will arrive in Lahore on December 28 to get ready for the 50-over tournament that runs from January 8-31.
The 24-year-old right-arm fast bowler appeared in his only Big Bash League (BBL) outing for Hobart Hurricanes in 2017, making an impression with his ability to clock high speeds consistently.
Summers will take part in a week-long training camp under former Pakistan bowling coach Azhar Mahmood, who has been roped in by Southern Punjab for a short-term contract.
"I am delighted to have been offered a contract by the Southern Punjab Cricket Association, which has proved to be one of the front-running and formidable sides in Pakistan’s domestic cricket," Summers said in a statement released by the PCB.
"Pakistan is a breeding ground for the fast bowlers and while I look forward to developing as a quality fast bowler, I am equally keen to help my side performance strongly in the Pakistan Cup, which will be played on a double-league format that will test my fitness, form and consistency against some of the quality batsmen to the limits," he added.
The PCB's domestic competition rules allow for the inclusion of one foreign player in a team as long as the foreign recruit submits a No Objection Certificate from his home board.
Summers' involvement in the Pakistan Cup is not an idea completely alien to the domestic circuit as several Afghan players have played for regional sides in the past. Additionally, Zimbabwe's ace all-rounder Sikandar Raza took part in the National T20 Cup a few years ago.
Excited by the prospect of honing his skills on Pakistan pitches, Summers admitted to having followed the ongoing domestic season in the country closely on "social media".
“I have been following the ongoing season on social media and the quality of cricket on display has convinced me that Pakistan is the place where I can hone my skills and improve as a cricketer. My goal remains to be a top professional and I think Pakistan can help me achieve that target," he said.
While Summers lacks in List A experience with just three games under his belt, director of High Performance Nadeem Khan said: "The news of Aaron Summers featuring in the Pakistan Cup is a validation of the standard and competitive quality of our domestic events.
"I am hopeful Aaron’s participation will also attract other foreign cricketers. It will also help our local players interact and integrate with players from other environments and enhance their understating of different cultures.”