South African legend AB de Villiers and former Australia captain Steve Smith are just two of several international superstars assigned Platinum statuses by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the fourth season draft of the Pakistan Super League, scheduled to be played from February 14 to March 17 next year.
The 14-member Platinum category holds foreign stars of the highest pedigree, from which the six PSL teams will get to pick when the player draft takes place.
In addition to the aforesaid duo, the PSL Platinum category also contains West Indian trio of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo, who was picked by Peshawar Zalmi last year but couldn't join the team due to an injury.
Pollard, the Multan Sultans all-rounder, said he was looking forward to playing in the PSL once again.
"PSL is an extremely competitive tournament. Whenever availability permits, I always look forward to playing in it." — Kieron Pollard
Narine, who has been an integral part of the Lahore Qalandars squad, shared his excitement at seeing so many stars sign up for the 2019 edition.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the PSL in all these seasons," he said. "The next year should be even bigger and better with such an impressive player roster."
Australian star Chris Lynn, who missed out on representing Lahore Qalandars in last year’s tournament due to an injury, has signed with the PSL again for the upcoming season.
Lynn is joined on the list by fellow Australian star Shane Watson, who topped the batting charts for Quetta Gladiators last year with 319 runs in 10 matches.
Meanwhile, Black Caps wicket-keeper batsman Luke Ronchi has been promoted from Diamond to Platinum this year, given his prolific form last season where he was the tournament's highest run-scorer with 435 runs in 11 matches for Islamabad United.
"I had a phenomenal run with the Pakistan Super League last year and I can't wait to get back into action. I loved the hospitality of the people when we played in Karachi and we managed to create some very special memories by lifting the trophy last year." — Luke Ronchi
Ronchi now shares the Platinum category with former New Zealand teammates Brendon McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan.
Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan, who is currently on the Quetta Gladiators roster, also looks forward to play in his first PSL after missing out last year due to national duty.
Sri Lankan all-rounder and former Gladiator Thisara Perera also finds his name on the Platinum list.
South Africa and Karachi Kings batsman Colin Ingram also returns as a Platinum pick on the back of a very successful T20 campaign in England, where he scored 430 runs in 11 matches this season.
“Playing with Karachi Kings gave me a great opportunity to interact with some lovely people from Pakistan. The quality of cricket in the PSL stood out for me but, more importantly, I am very proud of the fact that I played in Pakistan and experienced what this game means to Pakistani fans.” — Colin Ingram
The Platinum category foreign players who were a part of PSL squads last season can be retained, traded or released into the Draft Pool.
With the trade and retention window currently open, the next few weeks could be pivotal for the franchises' fortunes in 2019 as they make key decisions on player retentions, trades and releases.
“This is a very exciting mix of top quality foreign players,” said PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani. “In the next few days, PSL will continue to announce more foreign player signings in various categories as the excitement grows around what should be an extremely interesting Player Draft.”