Players from the West Indies, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe were among those who went under the hammer in the highest-profile auction yet for Afghanistan's domestic T20 league, the Shpageeza Cricket League, in Kabul on Thursday.
The most-expensive buy was Afghanistan allrounder Gulbadin Naib, who was bought by Boost Defenders for USD 108,000.
The other five teams include Band-e-Amir Dragons, Mis Ainak Knights, Kabul Eagles, Speenghar Tigers and Amo Sharks. All the franchises are owned by leading Afghan business groups.
Other notable buys included Bangladesh's Imrul Kayes and Zimbabwe's Sean Williams. Salman Butt, who featured in the tournament last year, remained unsold this time.
"All matches will be held in Kabul, between July 18 and July 28," Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) CEO Shafiq Stanikzai told media. "The ICC has sanctioned this event, and is sending its own match referee to oversee the tournament. In addition, we will have one on-field umpire from the ICC panel."
The league will be broadcast on television in Afghanistan, and Stanikzai said the board is in talks to have it reach a wider audience. "It will be broadcast locally on one channel," he said. "We are currently in negotiations, we haven't finalised the deal yet."
Afghanistan leg spinner Rashid Khan and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, who had earned contracts with the IPL this year and impressed in the league, boosted Afghanistan's cricketing profile around the world.