October 20, 2016Print : Sports
DUBAI: There was the usual trading of the players with teams looking to rope in match winners as the Pakistan Super League (PSL) player draft took place at the Dome in Dubai Sports City on Wednesday evening.
Among the highlights of the draft was Lahore Qalandar’s decision to pick New Zealand big-hitter Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle’s transfer to Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi’s move to retain aging Shahid Afridi.
The big news of the day was Najam Sethi’s announcement that the final of PSL 2 will take place in Lahore.
Launching the draft, PSL chairman Najm Sethi said: “With more stars, we will make it better and bigger than last edition of the PSL.”
Sethi also revealed that the final of 2017 PSL will be held in Lahore. “It is part of our move to take cricket back to our country.”
He also assured that the tag of the second biggest league in the world will be maintained. The five franchises are defending champions Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi and finalists Quetta Gladiators. He also revealed that the 2018 edition of the PSL will have six teams. “We will keep growing bigger every year. The PSL is going in the right direction,” he said. A host of marquee cricketers like Chris Gayle, Kevin Pietersen, Shahid Afridi and Darren Sammy were present on the occasion.
The draft began with the platinum category and the first pick was for Lahore Qalandars, who went for Brendon McCullum, former New Zealand captain and one of the most aggressive batsmen in contemporary cricket. The second pick went to Karachi Kings and they promptly picked West Indies’ hurricane batsman Chris Gayle. The giant West Indian had played for Lahore in the first edition.
Zalmi retained their skipper Afridi, who later handed over the leadership role to Sammy. Veteran batsman Younis Khan has been appointed as the batting consultant and mentor for Peshawar, while Quetta Gladiators retained England star Kevin Pietersen. Islamabad United too kept their winning skipper Misbah-ul-Haq. The base pay for the platinum round was $140,000 going to a maximum of $230,000.
In the second round, Lahore went for West Indies ace spinner Sunil Narine while Karachi picked West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard. Peshawar bagged England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, while Quetta retained their skipper Sarfraz Ahmad. Islamabad retained Australia’s star all-rounder Shane Watson.
The third round saw Lahore retain Umar Akmal, highest scorer of the first edition, while Karachi retained their captain and all-rounder Shoaib Malek. Quetta reposed their faith in opener Ahmad Shehzad. Islamabad retained West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell.