Richard Gleeson, Benny Howell get BPL deals

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Uncapped Englishmen Richard Gleeson and Benny Howell are among the 31 foreign players signed by Bangladesh Premier League teams before Friday’s player draft.

Other county cricketers to win deals include Ashar ZaidiRavi Bopara and Riki Wessels.

The high-profile players who have already signed contracts include Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith and Shoaib Malik (all Chittagong Vikings), Kumar Sangakkara, Andre Russell, Mahela Jayawardene and Dwayne Bravo (all Dhaka Dynamites), Darren Sammy (Rajshahi) and Shahid Afridi (Rangpur Riders).

Gleeson, 28, will link up with Afridi at the Riders, alongside Sharjeel KhanBabar AzamMohammad ShahzadDasun Shanaka and Gidron Pope, with several more big-name signings to come in the draft.

Howell, meanwhile, will play with Nicholas PooranWesselsKevon Cooper and Mohammad Asghar at the Titans.

Step Up For Gleeson

For Gleeson in particular, this deal marks a new chapter in his career. Despite already being 28 years old, the right-arm seamer has only been in professional cricket for two years, and was appearing for Northamptonshire on a match-by-match basis until July.

However, he now has a professional contract with the club, and is no longer juggling his second job as a coach for the Lancashire Cricket Board in clubs and schools.

Whilst he did not perform quite as he would have liked in Division Two of the County Championship this summer, Gleeson was on inspirational form with the white ball.

His 14 wickets at 16 apiece in the T20 Blast came whilst he conceded only 5.97 runs per over, despite often bowling at the start and end of an innings. In the One-Day Cup, the seamer averaged 22.46 with the ball, taking thirteen wickets.

Howell Form Rewarded

Benny Howell has been an underrated bowler for much of his career, but his wicket-taking form in the T20 Blast this season has finally seen his efforts rewarded.

According to CricketRatings.co.uk, Howell is currently the fifth-best T20 bowler in world cricket, despite his seemingly innocuous action. Sky have also frequently sung his praises this year due to his ability to bowl a ‘knuckle ball’, a slower ball which is extremely difficult to pick.

In this year’s Blast, the 27-year-old managed 24 wickets at 16.01 apiece, and conceded his runs at just 6.88 per over.

Photo used with kind permission of Kyle Andrews

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