Denly bags late BPL deal
Middlesex top-order batsman Joe Denly has earned a Bangladesh Premier League contract on the day the competition began.
Denly, who has joined Barisal Burners, is part of a rush of late signings due to the Pakistan Cricket Board's decision not to allow its players to feature in the tournament whose final is on February 19.
Middlesex men past and present starred on day one of the BPL. Owais Shah, now of Essex, top-scored with 84 as defending champions Dhaka Gladiators beat Khulna Royal Bengals and Paul Stirling's 50 aided Sylhet Royals' defeat of Barisal, for whom Lancashire's Kabir Ali also hit 50.
Middlesex managing director of cricket Angus Fraser said: "When Joe told us that he'd been asked to fly over to Bangladesh to join up with the Barisal franchise and that he was keen to take advantage of this opportunity, we were more than happy to back his decision.
"Our policy as a club is to fully support those players who wish to take part in the tournaments wherever possible and, much like Paul Stirling who is already over there, we were happy to grant Joe the time off from winter training to take part."
"We wish both Joe and Paul luck with their respective franchises, and look forward to welcoming them back to Middlesex in good nick after the tournament is finished."
Former England man Denly, whose nine one-day and five Twenty20 internationals came in 2009 and 2010, flew out today.
"I'm delighted to have received a call-up from Barisal, and am looking forward to joining up with my new team-mates over in Bangladesh to take part in this exciting tournament. This is a great opportunity for me, and one that I am really looking forward to," he said.
"It's been a little frantic since getting the call-up, and having rushed to get my kit together, I am now thankfully sat relaxing in the departures lounge at Heathrow awaiting my flight out.
"My thanks go to all at Middlesex for allowing me to join up with Barisal, and for their help in allowing me to set off at such short notice."