English county cricket veteran Simpson to represent Tigers in EPL
November 29, 2018 09:33 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Nov 29: The Everest Premier League (EPL) franchise Chitwan Tigers has announced their second signing from Middlesex County Cricket Club’s long-serving wicket-keeper-batsman John Simpson as their second overseas player for the upcoming season on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old has played 140 first-class matches and 94 T20s for Middlesex. He has scored 1557 runs at a strike rate of 128 including seven half-centuries in T20s. Simpson, a neat and reliable wicketkeeper capable of useful contributions with the bat, has been Middlesex’s first-choice wicketkeeper for nearly a decade since fighting off competition from Ben Scott who is also rumored to be signed by Tigers.
He was close for England Test honors, but a first-class average hovering in the early 30s weakened his case.
The owner of the Tigers franchise Kishore Bhattarai felt the need for an experienced player in the squad after his team finished at the bottom of the league table. “To fill the team with new energy and to reach our goals we needed an internationally experienced and proven player like John Simpson in our squad,” he said.
Simpson played age-levels in Lancashire appearing for Lancashire second XIs and earning his first England Under-19s call-up for the 2005 tour of Bangladesh. It took a move to Middlesex to realize his ambition of becoming a professional cricketer.
Tigers earlier announced Ireland and Middlesex county star batsman Paul Stirling as their first overseas recruit for the upcoming season of EPL. Stirling is currently playing in the T10 league for Kerala Knights alongside Nepali leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
Previously announced English batsman Max Holden withdrew his participation from EPL for Tigers citing his selection in England Lions squad which is touring United Arab Emirates during the same time. Similarly, Kiwi all rounder James Fuller will also be not able to participate in the EPL due to family reasons.
National players like Prithu Baskota, Dipendra Singh Airee, Lalit Bhandari, Dilip Nath, Kamal Singh Airee and Bhim Sarki are part of the Tigers squad whereas it has released Subash Khakurel and Sunam Gautam for the new season. Young left arm spinner Sagar Dhakal and batsman Aadil Khan has been roped in to replace them. The EPL will run from Dec 8 to 22 at TU International Cricket Ground, Kirtipur.