South Africa international Keshav Maharaj has joined Fortune Barishal for the rest of the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) season. He is expected to arrive in Chattogram on February 13 and will play against Durdanto Dhaka the following day.

Barishal made the official announcement of the incoming Maharaj, who will be skipping the domestic four-day competition in South Africa to feature in the franchise competition. Notably, Maharaj was leading Durban Super Giants in the SA20 2024. Under his leadership, the team qualified for the finals but lost to Sunrisers Eastern Cape by 89 runs. 

Maharaj was ruled out from joining the national squad for the second Test against New Zealand. After suffering an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Tim Southee-led side in the first Test, South Africa had the opportunity to change personnel for the second match, as SA20 has been concluded. However, the think tank has decided against it as Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) policy stipulates players need a week to acclimatise to venue conditions first, which went against Maharaj and the other players.

Meanwhile, Maharaj’s inclusion will boost Barishal’s chances to qualify for the playoffs of the competition. He picked up 15 wickets in 13 matches in SA20 and ended up being the joint fourth-leading wicket-taker of the tournament. In the spin-friendly conditions of Bangladesh, Maharaj is expected to excel. Barishal currently stands fourth on the points table. Khulna Tigers and Sylhet Strikers are right behind them, as BPL is heading towards its business end.

As per ESPNcricinfo, a few South African cricketers also enquired about a possible chance of featuring in the ongoing ILT20 but none of them requested a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from CSA. With no series currently lined up, South African players are likely to take a break before joining their respective franchises in the Indian Premier League. Players not part of any IPL team will keep themselves ready by playing in the domestic tournament.

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