San Francisco Unicorns bank on strong Australia-Pakistan nexus

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Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf will lend a cutting edge to the Unicorns' bowling line-up.
Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf will lend a cutting edge to the Unicorns' bowling line-up. © Getty

Outlook :

It seemed a no brainer from Indian-American tech tycoons Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan to baptise the San Francisco based franchise as the Unicorns, the city with the highest number of Unicorn companies. The Unicorns joined forces with Cricket Victoria to forge a strategic partnership with the latter taking over high-performance initiatives. Shane Watson will serve his first stint as the head coach of the San Francisco Unicorns after serving as an apprentice under Ricky Ponting for two seasons at the Delhi Capitals.

How did they fare at the domestic draft :

The Unicorns entered the fray by locking in former New Zealand all-rounder and now American resident Corey Anderson as their first pick. The Unicorns further entrusted old war horse and World Cup winner Liam Plunkett with their second pick. They roped in the Indian trio of Tajinder Singh, Chaitanya Bishnoi and former India U19 wicket keeper Smit Patel. Tajinder, who was formerly with Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings, made a reputation as an explosive opening batsman while left-arm spinner Bishnoi spent a year at the Chennai Super Kings in 2018.

Carmi le Roux and Brody Couch form the other domestic pace bowling options for the Unicorns. Twenty-three-year-old, Couch will look to build on the BBL experience he acquired with the Stars and the Renegades in the country of his birth. Former South Africa A opening batsman David White with 85 first class caps will bring in vital experience at the top of the order.

International signings :

Former Australia skipper Aaron Finch will lead the Unicorns in their inaugural season while compatriot Marcus Stoinis will form the fulcrum of Unicorns' middle order. Another Australian Matthew Wade will be desperate for time in the middle after being on the bench through IPL 2023. Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf bring in the Pakistani flair on the American shores. Lungi Ngidi will hope to strike the perfect seam-bowling partnership with Rauf.

Probable XI: Aaron Finch, Matthew Wade, Smit Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Shadab Khan, Corey Anderson, Tajinder Singh, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Liam Plunkett Haris Rauf, Lungi Ngidi




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