The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Tuesday announced a star-studded list of 25 foreign players who have made themselves available for the upcoming edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Players part of the 'Platinum' category – foreign stars of the highest pedigree – include the likes of David Miller, Rashid Khan, Chris Gayle, and Dale Steyn.
Last month, the PCB had released players' categories for the sixth edition of the tournament, which is due to be held later this year, announcing that the national team’s captain, Babar Azam, was also in the 'Platinum' category along with Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir.
In a press release issued today, the cricket body said the list of foreign players part of the category also included top-ranked T20I batsman Dawid Malan, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Lynn, Alex Hales, Morne Morkel, Mohammad Nabi, Imran Tahir, Tom Banton, and Chris Jordan, all of whom confirmed their availability for the tournament.
However, some of these players will only be partially available for PSL 2021 due to a "packed international calendar during the February to March window", the PCB said.
After the release of the names of the 25 foreign players in the 'Platinum' category, the six franchises of the PSL will "make key trade and retention decisions" before the player draft scheduled for Jan 10 in Lahore.
Each team is allowed a maximum of eight retentions, according to the PCB.
Giving more details about the players, the PCB said that the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 Player of the Decade Rashid Khan will be one of the major attractions of the draft.
"The Afghanistan leg-spinner has bagged a total of 338 wickets in 244 T20 games besides his staggering T20I numbers of 89 wickets in 48 matches," it said.
South African player Miller, who has yet to play in the PSL, will be one of the most sought after players for the franchises, the press release added. Morkel, Rassie van der Dussen, Tahir, Colin Ingram, and Rilee Rossouw have also been included in the Platinum category.
West Indies' Gayle who represented Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars in earlier editions of the tournament will also be a "major attraction". Other players from West Indies are Bravo, Carlos Brathwaite, Lendl Simmons, and Evin Lewis.
"Besides Malan, England’s Alex Hales who was part of the Kings' winning squad in last year’s edition is also on the list. Moeen Ali, Chris Jordan and Tom Banton are also part of the Platinum roster.
"Spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rehman and all-rounder Mohammad Nabi are the two other Afghanistan players on the list along with Rashid Khan.
"Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera and Isuru Udana also feature on the list.
"Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman and Nepal’s Sandeep Lamichanne who have both played for [Lahore Qalandars] in the past complete the list," the PCB said.
Director Commercial Babar Hamid said the PCB was "delighted to release a star-studded list of players in the Platinum category even though we are dealing with an unprecedented situation due to Covid-19 and player availabilities are also hampered by a packed FTP calendar".
He said the 2021 edition of the PSL would be "another exciting season" since all matches would once again be played in Pakistan.