DUBAI: Big stars were among 414 players who were were placed in the draft for the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in Dubai on Wednesday.
The list included former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, West Indian stars Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, ex-Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and England’s ODI and Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan.
Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen will also take part, while the inclusion of Morgan is particularly noteworthy after he withdrew from England’s ongoing tour of Bangladesh over security concerns.
Five teams took part in the inaugural edition of the PSL which was held entirely in Dubai and Sharjah in February this year.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi, who announced on Wednesday that the 2017 final will be held in Lahore, said the next edition will be competitive and exciting.
“The second edition of the PSL, again with five teams in competition, will be more successful,” Sethi announced at the draft ceremony. “International players know what we can do; most of them are ready to come to Pakistan and play.”
Sethi said top-level security will be put in place for the players. “It will be a fly-in, fly out plan and the government has promised to give full security to the players. We are convinced that the final will happen in Lahore,” he said.
McCullum said he was delighted to be playing in the PSL for the first time. “It’s a great honour to be part of the PSL and I am sure with development plans in place this league will give Pakistan some very good players,” said McCullum.
Pakistan’s Twenty20 captain Sarfraz Ahmed said the tournament can impact on the national team’s fortunes.
“From the first edition we unearthed a number of talented players like Mohammad Nawaz, Sharjeel Khan and Hasan Ali so it is the door for talented players to make their mark at international level,” Sarfraz commented.
The biggest announcement late into the night was made by Peshawar Zalmi’s hero and former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. He handed over the captaincy of Peshawar to Sammy, who has led West Indies to two World T20 titles in 2012 and 2016.
Handing over the captaincy to Sammy, Afridi said: “Your cricket board [West Indies] does not give you the respect but we honour you with our team captaincy.”
Afridi also announced that Younis Khan will be his team’s batting consultant and team mentor.
The other notable changes apart from Chris Gayle joining Karachi Kings from Lahore Qalandars and Brendon McCullum also being picked by Lahore, was Pakistan’s new batting sensation Babar Azam joining Karachi Kings.
Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators are the only teams to be captained by Pakistan players. Misbah-ul-Haq will remain as captain of defending champions Islamabad United and Sarfraz too will skipper runners-up Quetta Gladiators.
Many expected that Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, who had returned to domestic cricket in Pakistan after their bans for spot-fixing, would be picked — but they went unpicked. However, Mohammad Amir who was also punished in the spot fixing scandal, has been retained by Karachi Kings.
Gayle, as usual, was in a jovial mood. When Karachi owner Salman Iqbal called him on to the stage to present his new jersey, he said: “I am very happy to know I would be playing for Karachi Kings. The King has to be with the Kings team.”
Sri Lanka’s star batsmen Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are among the new players of the Karachi team.
World Twenty20 match-winner Carlos Brathwaite, who famously hoisted England’s Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to decide the final this year, will be playing for Quetta Gladiators.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) announced a profit of $2.6 million (Rs260 million) from the first edition.
Following is the list of new and retained players in each franchise:
New players: Eoin Morgan (England), Haris Sohail, Alex Hales (England), Mohammad Shahzad (Afghanistan), Irfan Khan, Khushdil Shah, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh), Sohaib Maqsood.
Retained players: Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Darren Sammy (West Indies), Mohammad Hafeez, Chris Jordan (England), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh), Kamran Akmal, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Asghar. LAHORE QALANDARS:
New players: Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Sunil Narine (West Indies), Anton Devcich (New Zealand), Fakhar Zaman, Ghulam Muddasar, Usman Qadir, Saif Badar, Mohammad Irfan, Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Aamir Yamin, Shaun Tait (Australia), Bilawal Bhatti, Sohail Tanvir.
Retained players: Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Yasir Shah, Mohammad Rizwan, Cameron Delport (South Africa), Azhar Ali, Zafar Gohar.
New players: Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Ryan McLaren (South Africa), Kashif Bhatti, Abrar Ahmed, Abdul Ameer, Mahela Jayawardene (Sri Lanka), Rahat Ali, Ammad Alam, Babar Azam, Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka), Chris Gayle (West Indies).
Retained players: Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Amir, Ravi Bopara (England), Imad Wasim, Sohail Khan, Shahzaib Hasan, Safiullah Khan Bangash, Khurram Manzoor, Usama Mir.
New players: Dwayne Smith (West Indies), Ben Duckett (England), Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Zohaib Khan. Retained players: Shane Watson (Australia), Andre Russell (West Indies), Samuel Badree (West Indies), Brad Haddin (Australia), Sam Billings (England), Misbah-ul-Haq, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif, Saeed Ajmal, Rumman Raees, Imran Khalid, Amad Butt, Hussain Talat.
New players: Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies), Tymal Mills (England), Rovman Powell (West Indies), David Willey (England), Mohammad Hassaan Khan, Noor Wali, Mir Hamza.
Retained players: Kevin Pietersen (England), Sarfraz Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Luke Wright (England), Anwar Ali, Umar Gul, Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), Mohammad Nawaz, Asad Shafiq, Saad Nasim, Umar Amin, Bismillah Khan.
Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2016