If all goes well, then world cricket’s top-most names could be seen playing in suburban T20 matches this summer in Australia. According to cricket.com.au, Mulgrave Cricket Club, which plays in Melbourne’s Eastern Cricket Association (ECA), a third-tier competition, has claimed that they are close to securing some international stars’ services like Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh and AB de Villiers.
Interestingly, Mulgrave has already signed Sri Lanka’s Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga to play this summer, along with Sanath Jayasuriya as their head coach. Dilshan, who now stays in Melbourne, has played six matches for Mulgrave Club earlier, scoring 132 runs in the ECA’s T20 Cup.
Further, Mulgrave president Milan Pullenayegam said the talks are on with former West Indies captain and a legend of the game, Brian Lara.
“We’ve secured Dilshan, we’ve secured Sanath, we’ve secured Tharanga. And now we are working on finalising agreements with a few other potential players,” said Pullenayegam.
Pullenayegam said they are in negotiations with Gayle, and Yuvraj is 85-90% positive that they will join the club.
“We are in negotiations, and with Chris (Gayle) and Yuvraj, we are nearly 85 to 90 per cent there. We need to finalise a few things, but it looks really good,” he added.
The president of the club expressed that they still need some financial assistance to support their ambitious signing targets.
“We are still looking for more sponsors to back us up; there is a fair financial commitment for a local cricket club. We’ve got a good backing at the moment that will get us across the line, but we don’t want to be just breaking even on it; we want to be able to give back to the community and expand the structure of the club.”
“It’s a process, with these big-name players there’s a lot of things we need to incorporate into their visits to Australia: we’ll provide them with accommodation, their travel, food etcetera, there is a lot of background stuff we need to organise for them,” Pullenayegam added further.
Gayle last played in Australia in BBL|05, where he represented Melbourne Renegades. While Lara and Yuvraj appeared in the Bushfire Bash charity match at Junction Oval in February 2020. Similarly, De Villiers also appeared in the BBL|09 for Brisbane Heat in 2020.