Shahid Afridi, Kumar Sangakkara, Kieron Pollard, Shakib al Hasan, Mohammad Hafeez. Nearly 2000 international caps between them, a host of records to boot – but all find themselves in the draft ahead of the 2019 season after being released by their respective Pakistan Super League teams.
Tuesday, 13 November, was the final day before the close of the retention window ahead of the PSL 2019 player draft next week, and the franchises threw up a few surprises with their choices.
Each team could retain a maximum of ten players before the player draft on 20 November. PSL rules dictate a franchise can feature up to three platinum, three diamond, three gold and five silver category players, with two emerging players also a requisite in the final squad at the conclusion of the draft.
There had been speculation around Babar Azam’s possible release from his franchise, Karachi Kings – this despite being the top-ranked batsman in ICC’s T20I rankings – but the Kings opted to retain him.
Azam, like fellow Pakistan international Mohammad Amir and New Zealand’s Colin Munro, fell in the platinum category of players, and left Karachi with no choice but to let go of former Pakistan captain and T20 globe-trotter Afridi.
A similar case befell Shakib and Hafeez, who were both released as Peshawar Zalmi opted to keep on to Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali, while keeping one platinum buy in store for the draft.
Sangakkara and Pollard were both part of the now-defunct Multan Sultans, whose picks will be made by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Rashid Khan, Eoin Morgan and Brendon McCullum were among the other big names to be released by their respective PSL outfits.
Former South Africa captain AB de Villiers, and currently-banned former Australia skipper Steven Smith will also be available in a 371-strong pool of foreign players at the draft, which will also include 311 cricketers from Pakistan.
PSL 2019 – the fourth edition of Pakistan’s T20 league – is slated to begin on 14 February in UAE, with the PCB planning to host eight matches in Lahore and Karachi, including the play-offs and the final.
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