The Major League Cricket 2023 Domestic Player Draft is scheduled to take place today (March 19) – here’s all you need to know about the format, timings, top players, venue and more.
The inaugural edition of the Major League Cricket will kick off on July 13 later this year, with the first round of the player draft to take place today (March 19). The tournament will be played between six teams, four out of which are either partly or fully owned by existing Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises.
Kolkata Knight Riders were one of the first investors in the tournament and own the Los Angeles-based team, while Mumbai Indians will be solely responsible for the New York-based franchise. Delhi Capitals meanwhile have joined hands with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and will co-own the Seattle-based franchise which will be called Seattle Orcas. The fourth IPL team to have a stake in the MLC is Chennai Super Kings, who will co-own the Texas-based franchise.
The remaining two teams – one based out of Washington DC and another out of San Franciso – are owned by local American investors in tie-ups with New South Wales Cricket and Victoria Cricket respectively.
The teams will create the domestic core of their squads today as the domestic player draft is set to take place at the Space Center Houston, the official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
Format of the draft
There will be a total of nine rounds in the draft, with each team picking a player per round. The teams will follow a ‘snake order’ where the team which picks last in one particular round will pick first in the next.
Each team will have to mandatorily pick a U-23 player in the ninth round, irrespective of whether they have picked one in earlier rounds or not.
The teams will get a shot at picking another U-23 domestic player in July, after the first half of the Minor League Cricket season, in a similar draft process. The overseas player signings will be done outside the draft process, with each team allowed a maximum of eight overseas players in their squad. The maximum squad strength is 18.
There will be several international stars in the domestic player draft today (March 19), who have acquired local residencies. Two of the biggest names up for grabs will be World Cup winner Liam Plunkett, and seam-bowling all-rounder Corey Anderson. India U19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand will also be a part of the draft, along with his teammates from that squad Harmeet Singh and Smit Patel.
Members of the US national cricket team including the likes of Saurabh Netravalkar, Nosthush Kenjige, and Aaron Jones, will also be highly sought after in the draft. Saurabh has the best economy rate among pacers in two years of Minor League Cricket, Kenjige has an economy rate of 3.79 in the Cricket World Cup League 2 since 2020, and Jones had a 395-run season in Minor League Cricket (MiLC) last year at a strike rate of 151.
Some of the other Minor League Cricket performers to keep an eye on include Hammad Azam, the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of MiLC 2021, Phani Simhadri, the MVP of MiLC 2022, and Sujith Gowda, who has more than 1000 runs in the two seasons of the MiLC combined at a strike rate of nearly 150.
The live broadcast of the draft will begin at 7:30pm local time (CST). Fans in India and Pakistan will be able to catch the action early morning on March 20 at 6am IST and 5:30 am PKT respectively. For viewers in the United Kingdon, the coverage will start at 12:30 am (GMT) on March 20.
Here are all the details of where you can catch the live coverage of the MLC 2023 Player Draft.