Pavel Florin, the Romanian cricketer with a distinctive bowling action that has seen him rise to prominence and earn cult status, threw his hat into the ring for this year’s Big Bash League after being nominated for the first repechage of foreign players in the competition.
The Transylvanian, who is a professional bodyguard by day, made headlines in 2019 when his love of the game prompted Shane Warne and Joffra Archer to send messages of support, after his unconventional style was initially mocked on social networks.
Since then, Florin has had a stint in Australia playing for Surrey Hills Cricket Club in Victoria, received VIP treatment in the President’s box during an Ashes Test at Lord’s and made his debut for Romania in a T20I, although he only started the sport at age. of 31.
Now 43, the bowler has his sights set on playing in one of the biggest Twenty20 leagues in the world and will face a host of world cricketing stars for a place on the final draft list – and with it a chance to make one of the eight team rosters.
Much like his bowling action, Florin’s application was somewhat unorthodox – while the majority of professional nominees let their agents apply on their behalf, Florin went it alone and personally contacted BBL Chief Executive Alistair Dobson, to state his case.
Posting a confirmation screenshot of his self-nomination, and with a dose of his trademark enthusiasm, Florin tweeted, “Nothing is impossible!”.
Impossible, maybe not, but Florin is unlikely to be chosen from a select number of foreign players picked by BBL teams for the tournament’s upcoming 12th season.
Competition is tough, with around 200 nominations made, ranging from up-and-coming County players to established stars of the T20 circuit.
The latest swath of overseas players to make the draft list was revealed on Wednesday, with Liam Livingstone headlining alongside other England short-format specialists such as Alex Hales, Tymal Mills and James Vince.
The reveal was the latest in a series of drip announcements ahead of the first such project in the BBL on August 28. Ninety-eight players from five countries have been confirmed so far, including New Zealand’s Colin Munro, South Africa’s Faf du Plessis and West Indian trio Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sheldon Cottrell.
The full roster will be completed by mid-August, allowing teams to make their selections and fine-tune their preparations before the season kicks off on December 13.
This means that Florin will soon find out if he can make his dream come true, but even if he is not part of a BBL team, other opportunities could await the charismatic player-president of Cluj Cricket Club from Romania – it is understood he could be offered an ambassadorial role during the Australian summer.
Still, for now, Florin is firmly aiming for a spot on a BBL list. “Maybe a lot of people see me as a weak player but in my head I’m the best player,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “Do you know why? Because I do what I love and I love what I do… cricket.