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  • Writer's pictureJai Elhance

MLC 2023 Domestic Player Draft Review

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

The 2023 MLC Draft is complete and the 6 teams are looking solid. Taking place at the Nasa Space Station in Houston, the draft was in a snake order, with each team getting 9 picks. The order was as follows: Seattle Orcas, Washington Freedom, MI New York, San Francisco Unicorns, LA Knight Riders, and Texas Super Kings.

This draft was only for domestic players, and over the next few weeks, teams can continue signing international players.

Seattle Orcas

Players: Harmeet Singh, Shehan Jayasuriya, Shubham Ranjane, Cameron Gannon, Aaron Jones, Nauman Anwar, Phani Simhadri, Angelo Perrera, Matthew Tromp

Seattle have picked up some highly destructive batsmen in the draft. Harmeet Singh and Shehan Jayasuriya were 2 of the most prolific run scorers in the MiLC tournament last year. Representing the Seattle Thunderbolts and Silicon Valley Strikers, respectively, both were key batsmen in the top order.

Aaron Jones, a US international, is another one of the batsmen which Seattle have gone with. Though he was only able to play a handful of games in MiLC last year, Jones made a huge impact for the Atlanta Fire, especially in the playoffs. Representing the national side, Jones is a consistent and dependable player, who fits right into the middle order of the Seattle Orcas.

With the ball in hand, Phani Simhadri is an unforgettable name. Picking up 46 wickets in just 18 games, Simhadri became the MVP of the last season. He was consistently bowling well in the death overs, and was an integral part in ensuring that the Thunderbolts got over the line in the finals.

Cameron Gannon is also a very experienced fast bowler. Having played a lot of Cricket in Australia, including the Big Bash, he will pair really well with Simhadri in the pace bowling department for the Orcas.

Besides these players, the likes of Shubham Ranjane, Nauman Anwar, and Angelo Perrera have all proven themselves time and time again with the bat, making this side one to reckon with.

Ahead of the inaugural season of MLC, Seattle will want to add a couple of specialist spinners to their side, in order to cover all bases with the ball in hand.

Washington Freedom

Players: Andries Gous, Mukhtar Ahmed, Obus Piennar, Saurabh Netravalkar, Saad Ali, Dane Piedt, Sujith Gowda, Justin Dill, Akhilesh Bodugum

With 2 of their first 3 picks being Gous and Obus, Washington started the draft off with a couple of aggressive batting options. Gous is known to provide quick starts in the powerplay, and at times take the game away from the opposition in just the first few overs of an innings. Obus has proven himself as a player who can both rebuild and be aggressive with the bat in hand. Sujith Gowda is another player who Washington have selected for this inaugural MLC season. Gowda, representing the Dallas Mustangs in MiLC, is a very consistent and dependable player.

While their batting is looking really good, Washington's strength lies in their bowling. With all the experience that he brings, Saurabh Netravalkar, former US captain, will be an invaluable asset to this Freedom team. Justin Dill is another pacer who Washington have picked up. Dill is someone who can bowl up front in the powerplay, but can also limit runs at the back end of an innings, making him a very handy bowler. Additionally, Dill can also finish an innings off well with the bat in hand, with the ability to play more than just a cameo towards the end.

In the spin department, Washington have picked up both Dane Piedt and Akhilesh Bodugum. The former is a very experienced all rounder who has represented South Africa at the international level. Bodugum, on the other hand, is a young and upcoming talent who has played for the Hyderabad state team, as well as the reigning champions of MiLC, the Seattle Thunderbolts. This duo of experience and youth can prove to be very troublesome for opposition batsmen, especially with the variations they posses.

While Washington have put together a really good side, they still need a few more batsmen. This includes an opener to partner Gous, as well as another player in the middle order.

MI New York

Players: Steven Taylor, Hammad Azam, Ehsan Adil, Nosthush Kenjige, Monank Patel, Sarabjit Ladda, Shayan Jahangir, Kyle Phillip, Saideep Ganesh

Picking up a few USA international batsmen, with the likes of Steven Taylor, Monank Patel, and Shayan Jahangir, New York have opted for some very experienced options. In fact, Monank is actually the current USA captain. Sandeep Ganesh, a young batsmen, is also in the side on the back of a few great performances for the East Bay Blazers in MiLC.

With the ball in hand, New York have gone in with the pace of Ehsan Adil and Kyle Phillip. Along with these 2, they also have the option of Hammad Azam, who is extremely talented with both bat and ball in hand. In the inaugural season of MiLC, representing the Golden State Grizzlies, Azam was the MVP of the entire tournament.

Having a look at the spinners, New York have got both Nosthush Kenjige and Sarabjit Ladda. Kenjige is a USA international who is known as a very economical bowler as well as a wicket taking option, making him the entire package. Ladda, who has played the IPL for a few years, is currently the leading wicket taker in MiLC across seasons. His variations, at times, can be almost impossible to pick. Over the years, Ladda has turned many games around in just a couple of overs. Joining forces with Kenjige for this MLC tournament, the spin duo that New York have will be one to watch out for.

New York will want to get a couple more middle order players, potentially even an all rounder who can finish the innings off well with the bat in hand.

San Francisco Unicorns

Players: Corey Anderson, Liam Plunkett, Tajinder Singh, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Carmi Le Roux, Brody Couch, David White, Smit Patel, Sanjay Krishnamurthy

Starting off with 2 former international Cricketers, Corey Anderson and Liam Plunkett, the Unicorns decided to go for experience straight away. Anderson was an all rounder for New Zealand, while Plunkett represented England. Both have played in World Cups, with Plunkett actually winning the ODI tournament back in 2019. Their experience and knowledge of the game will be invaluable to the Unicorns in this MLC season.

At the top, San Francisco have selected David White and Smit Patel. White was a prolific run scorer in the last season, ending with 607 runs at a 145 strike rate. Smit Patel, on the other hand, was actually part of India's U19 World Cup winning team back in 2012.

Sanjay Krishnamurthy, the U23 player in the side, is a young all rounder who has already shown his worth in MiLC, and he'll be looking to continue some of those performances going into the inaugural MLC season.

San Francisco have also made some very unexpected picks in the draft. Their 3rd and 4th round picks, Tajinder Singh and Chaitanya Bishnoi, were especially surprising. Both were domestic Cricketers in India, and it'll be interesting to see how the 2 batsmen are able to do in MLC.

San Francisco need to find a few middle order batsmen, as well as a couple of good spinners ahead of the inaugural MLC season.

Los Angeles Knight Riders

Players: Ali Khan, Unmukt Chand, Jaskaran Malhotra, Nitesh Kumar, Corne Dry, Ali Sheikh, Saif Badar, Shadley Van Schalkwyk, Bhaskar Yadram

The Knight Riders have picked some big names with the bat. Scoring 1305 runs, Unmukt Chand has been the highest run scorer in all of MiLC for 2 consecutive seasons. In the inaugural season of the tournament, Chand led the Silicon Valley Strikers to become the grand champion of MiLC. Jaskaran Malhotra is another name which is part of the LA team. Malhotra, a US international, is one of just 4 Cricketers to hit 6 sixes in an over at the highest level. A very destructive batsmen, Malhotra can bat anywhere in the batting order.

Nitesh Kumar and Bhaskar Yadram are 2 of the all rounders which the Knight Riders have gone with. With the bat, Kumar is someone who likes to take his time and is a pretty dependable top order batsmen. Yadram, on there other hand, is one of the most destructive young batsmen in the league. With the ball in hand, both the players can provide a few overs, giving the side an extra bowling option.

With the ball in hand, LA have gone for the pace trio of Ali Khan, Corne Dry and Shadley Van Schalkwyk. Khan and Dry's pace makes them an excellent option, especially when paired with Shadley's variations. Khan has played all over the world, as well as for the US internationally, and his pinpoint yorkers make him very tough to play. Additionally, Shadley bowled the last over of the entire game in both the Pacific Conference Final and the Grand Final of MiLC 2022. In both the games, he held his nerve and got the Seattle Thunderbolts over the line in a nail biting finish.

The main goal for the Knight Riders, ahead of the MLC tournament, should be to find a quality spinner who can partner with Ali Sheikh, and to bolster their middle order.

Texas Super Kings

Players: Rusty Theron, Calvin Savage, Lahiru Milantha, Milind Kumar, Sami Aslam, Cameron Stevenson, Cody Chetty, Zia Shazhad, Saiteja Mukkamalla

With the CSK influence, Texas have filled their side with all rounders. This means that they'll have a lot of bowling options available, both pace and spin.

Lahiru Milantha was the top run scorer in the Atlantic Conference in 2022. His performances at the top of the order will ensure that Texas get off to good starts more often than not. Milind Kumar is another batsmen in the side. Milind is a top and middle order batsmen who has consistently shown he is dependable and can also step on the accelerator when needed. Additionally, he can also bowl a few overs of spin. Cody Chetty is a top order batsmen who has played extremely well for the Hollywood Master Blasters in MiLC. Saiteja Mukkamalla is the U23 player in this Texas side. At such a young age, Mukkamalla has already represented the US at the highest level and impressed many.

Calvin Savage played extremely well and was consistently chipping in with match winning performances with both bat and ball in MiLC last year. Though his team didn't make the playoffs, Savage was mighty impressive. Sami Aslam and Zia Shazhad are another couple of all rounders. Top and middle order players, they played a pivotal role in the success of the side. 2 players who play really well together, they will be a key asset for the Super Kings in the inaugural MLC season.

Rusty Theron and Cameron Stevenson, the 2 USA international fast bowlers, have both been drafted by Texas. As 2 decently experienced players, they will lead the bowling department for the Super Kings.

Texas will want to add a couple of quality spinners to their side ahead of the MLC tournament.

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