Cult cricket hero Pavel Florin joins Big Bash League heavyweights in draft nomination

Pavel Florin, the Romanian cricketer with a distinctive bowling action that saw him rise to prominence and earn cult status, has thrown his hat into the ring for this year’s Big Bash League after nominating for the competition’s inaugural overseas player draft.

The Transylvanian, who is a professional bodyguard by day, made headlines in 2019 when his love of the game prompted the likes of Shane Warne and Joffra Archer to send messages of support, after his unconventional style was initially mocked on social media.

Since then, Florin has enjoyed a stint in Australia playing for Surrey Hills Cricket Club in Victoria, received VIP treatment in the President’s Box at an Ashes Test at Lord’s, and debuted for Romania in a T20I, despite only taking up the sport at the age of 31.

Now 43, the bowler has set his sights on playing in one of the biggest Twenty20 leagues in the world and will go up against a host of world cricket stars for a place on the final draft list – and with it a chance to make one of the eight teams’ rosters.

Much like his bowling action, Florin’s application was somewhat unorthodox – while the majority of professional nominees leave their agents to apply on their behalf, Florin went it by himself and got in touch personally with BBL general manager Alistair Dobson to state his case.

Posting a screenshot of confirmation of his self-nomination, and with a a dose of his trademark enthusiasm, Florin tweeted, “Nothing is impossible!”.

Impossible, perhaps not, but it is unlikely Florin will be picked up as one of a select number of overseas players chosen by BBL teams for the tournament’s upcoming 12th season.

Competition is stiff, with around 200 nominations made, comprising up-and-coming county players all the way up to established stars of the T20 circuit.

The latest swathe of foreign players to make the draft list was revealed on Wednesday, with Liam Livingstone headlining alongside other English short-format specialists such as Alex Hales, Tymal Mills and James Vince.

The reveal was the latest in a drip-feed of announcements in the lead-up to the first draft of its kind in the BBL on 28 August. Ninety-eight players from five countries have been confirmed so far, including the likes of New Zealand’s Colin Munro, Faf du Plessis of South Africa, and West Indies trio Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sheldon Cottrell.

The full list will be completed by mid-to-late August, allowing teams to make their selections and fine tune preparations before the season starts on 13 December.

It means Florin will soon find out if he can make his dream a reality, but even if he does not make it into a BBL squad, other opportunities may await the charismatic player-president of Romania’s Cluj Cricket Club – it is understood he may be offered an ambassadorial role during the Australian summer.

Still, for now, Florin has his sights firmly set on a spot on a BBL roster. “Maybe many people see me as a weak player but in my head I am the best player,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “You know why? Because I do what I like and I love what I do….cricket.”