The inaugural edition of Major League Cricket (MLC) will begin on Friday. The six-team tournament will feature eight Indian players who have recently announced retirement from Indian cricket to pursue their cricketing careers in USA.
Some of the prominent names are India U-19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand and his teammates Smit Patel and Harmeet Singh. Ambati Rayudu had signed up with Texas Super Kings but pulled out of the tournament last week due to personal reasons.
Active Indian players are barred from playing in overseas franchise leagues, including MLC, but the ones who have announced their retirement are allowed.
Here are the Indian players who will be in action in MLC 2023:
Unmukt Chand (Los Angeles Knight Riders)
The former India Under-19 World Cup skipper was picked by Los Angeles Knight Riders for $65,000 in the MLC player draft. The right-handed batter had announced his retirement from Indian cricket in August 2021 and moved to the USA.
Chand had a brief stint in the Indian Premier League (IPL) between 2011 and 2016, where he played 21 matches for Delhi Capitals (2011-13), Rajasthan Royals (2014) and Mumbai Indians (2015-16). He had little success, however, scoring 300 runs at a strike rate of 100.00 and averaging 15.00. The Delhi-born batter has also played franchise cricket in Australia (Big Bash League) and Bangladesh (Bangladesh Premier League).
Unmukt Chand T20 career stats
Harmeet Singh (Seattle Orcas)
Chand’s 2012 Under-19 World Cup teammate was one of the six players to be picked in the first round of the MLC player draft for $75,000 by Seattle Orcas. The left-arm spinner has played just one IPL game, for Rajasthan Royals in 2013. He picked one for 34 from his four overs in his lone experience in the league.
Once compared to spin legend Bishen Singh Bedi, Harmeet made his First-Class debut for Mumbai in 2009 and picked seven wickets in the game against Himachal Pradesh. From 2017-18, he played for Tripura in the Indian domestic circuit till 2020 before retiring from Indian cricket in 2021 and moving to USA.
Harmeet Singh T20 career stats
Smit Patel (San Francisco Unicorns)
The wicketkeeper-batter also shot to fame during India’s Under-19 World Cup win in 2012 under the leadership of Chand. He was India’s second highest run-scorer in the tournament, after Chand, scoring 178 runs in six games at an average of 59.33. He made his First-Class debut for Gujarat in the same year before playing for Tripura as a “guest player” in search of more opportunities. He ended his First-Class career in 2020 with Goa with a game against his original team Gujarat.
Smit ended his Indian domestic career with Baroda in 2021 before deciding to move to USA. In 2021, he plied his trade for Barbados Royals in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
Smit Patel T20 career stats
Sarbjeet Singh Ladda (MI New York)
The leg-spinner from Punjab has an impressive First-Class record with 89 wickets in just 28 games. Ladda made his debut in 2007 and was Punjab’s second highest wicket-taker in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy season. He earned an IPL cap in 2010 with Delhi Capitals and picked four wickets in five games at an economy rate of 9.53 in his debut season. He then played three matches for Kolkata Knight Riders between 2011 and 2013 but managed just one wicket.
His last IPL appearance was for Gujarat Lions in 2016. He played just one match that season and was wicketless in the two overs that went for 21 runs. That was also his last T20 match. Ladda’s First-Class career ended in 2015 while his last List A game was back in 2010.
Sarbjeet Singh Ladda T20 career stats
Chaitanya Bishnoi (San Francisco Unicorns)
Bishnoi played the most recent Indian domestic season, opening the batting for Haryana across formats. He was his side’s top run-scorer in the T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 217 runs in eight matches but at an underwhelming strike rate of 104.32. In the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, Bishnoi was Haryana’s third leading run-getter and scored 213 runs in six innings and also struck a hundred (134). In the Ranji Trophy, Bishnoi amassed 282 runs in eight innings, averaging 35.25 and picked three wickets with his left-arm spin.
The 28-year-old was bought by Chennai Super Kings for his base price of Rs. 20 lakh in 2018 and was retained by the side for the 2019 season but never played an IPL match.
Chaitanya Bishnoi T20 career stats
Tajinder Singh Dhillon (San Francisco Unicorns)
The lower-order batter from Rajasthan has an impressive career strike rate of 144.16 in T20s and is also a handy off-spinner who has a career economy of 6.52 in the shortest format of the game. He was picked for Rs. 55 lakh by Mumbai Indians in the 2018 auctions before Punjab Kings acquired his services for Rs. 20 lakh in 2020. Despite his penchant for big-hitting, Tajinder never played an IPL match. He made his First-Class, List A and T20 debut for Rajasthan in 2017 and plied his trade in the Indian domestic circuit till 2019.
Tajinder Singh Dhillon T20 career stats
Milind Kumar (Texas Super Kings)
Milind is a proven performer on the Indian domestic circuit. The all-rounder made his First-Class debut for Delhi in 2011 and has also represented Sikkim and Tripura in the Ranji Trophy. The right-handed batter amassed 1,331 runs for Sikkim in Ranji Trophy 2018-19 in the Plate Division, which is the third highest tally in a single season. In a testament to his all-round abilities, Milind also picked 22 wickets with his off-spin in the same season. The 32-year-old played his last game in Indian domestic cricket in 2021 for Tripura before announcing his retirement.
The Delhi-born all-rounder was picked by Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore but never made his IPL debut. Milind has an impressive average in First-Class and List A cricket, 46.68 and 43.04, respectively. In T20s, he has a strike rate of 112.32, which has surged to 142.97 in Minor League Cricket.
Milind Kumar T20 career stats
Shubham Ranjane (Seattle Orcas)
Ranjane is of rich cricketing heritage. His grandfather Vasant played seven Test matches for India between 1958 and 1964 while his father Subash reperesented Maharashtra in 29 First-Class and 11 List A games. Following in his footsteps, Shubham played 15 First-Class, 23 List A and 29 T20 games for Maharashtra. The all-rounder is a handy lower-order batter and is economical with his right-arm medium pace. Ranjane ended his career in Indian cricket with Goa in 2022. He was picked by Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 auctions but never received an IPL cap.
Shubham Ranjane T20 career stats
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