Shaiman Anwar thought his chances of playing in an international league were over before being selected in Global T20 Canada.
Like many of his international team-mates, Anwar, 39, has often been overlooked for the major competitions despite scoring more than 700 runs in 26 matches of the shortest format.
But he was finally rewarded when the veteran was drafted by Edmonton Royals as their 11th pick in Sunday’s auction.
Anwar first heard that he was selected during his visit of Pakistan and while he could not believe it first initially, he was thrilled to have finally got his breakthrough.
“I was surprised for sure,” he said. “One of my friends called me and told me that I was selected in the new T20 league in Canada and I really didn’t believe it. But I then looked on the internet and it was true. I was really surprised because I thought my chances of playing in a big T20 league was over especially when I am nearly 40. But it’s fantastic news for me.”
Anwar will be joining fellow UAE team-mate Ahmed Raza in the squad which also features ex-Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, T20 blistering batsman Chris Lynn and New Zealand’s Luke Ronchi.
And Anwar, who hails from Sialkot, says he cannot wait to train on a daily basis with Afridi.
“Everyone in the world knows that he’s a famous player. He is a Pakistan legend and especially in the T20 he’s an exceptional player,” he said.
UAE captain Mustafa, the No.15 pick, will line up alongside ex-Australia captain Steve Smith and West Indies World T20 winners Darren Sammy and Keiron Pollard for the Toronto Nationals.
Spinner Raza and veteran batsman Anwar were drafted as Edmonton Royals’ 11th and 14th picks and will have Shahid Afridi, Chris Lynn and Luke Ronchi as their team-mates.
The inaugural competition, which takes place from June 28 to July 15, will also see the likes of David Warner, Chris Gayle and Nepal’s rising star Sandeep Lamichhane in action.
The 30-year-old signed a short-term deal with Philadelphia, who play in the Durham Cricket League in the north-east of England, in his bid to get as much playing experience as possible ahead of the UAE’s Asia Cup Qualifiers in September.
And Brown believes it’s a positive step by Rameez that will only benefit his all-round game.
“I think it’s a really good move,” said the 48-year-old. “The more opportunities players have to experience different opportunities abroad, then I think is really really good.
“Rameez has been there before since he studied in the UK when he was younger. I think he’s finding it much colder and even people who live in the UK are finding the temperatures cold in that area where he is living, but it will be really good for him.
“He will have gone away knowing exactly what he wants to work. The whole idea of going to the UK, is to improve himself and become a better individual. I have no doubt that Rameez will be a more polished cricketer on the back of his experience in the North East.”