LAHORE: South African legend AB de Villiers and prolific Australian batsman Steve Smith will be two of the star attractions at this year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) Player Draft.
Some of the world’s most exciting T20 stars are set to dazzle at the PSL once again which re-runs to action on February 14 next year, said a spokesman of the Pakistan Cricket Board here on Thursday.
The list also includes the Windies trio of Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine. Bravo was picked up 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 play in the PSL once again.
“PSL is an extremely competitive tournament,” said Pollard. “Whenever availability permits, I always look forward to playing at the PSL,” he added.
Sunil 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,” said Narine. “The next year should be even bigger and better with such an impressive player roster.”
Australian star Chris Lynn, who was ruled out of last year’s tournament for Lahore Qalandars due to an injury, has also 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.
Black Caps’ wicket-keeper batsman Luke Ronchi goes up from Diamond to Platinum this year, given his prolific form in the last season where he was the highest run-scorer with 435 runs in 11 matches for Islamabad United.
“I had a phenomenal run with at the Pakistan Super League last year and I can’t wait to get back into action,” said Ronchi. “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,” added Ronchi while talking about his experience of playing in Pakistan.
Ronchi’s former New Zealand teammates Brendon McCullum and Mitchell McClenaghan would join him on the list.
Afghanistan spin sensation Rashid Khan will be looking to play his first PSL game this year after being called up for national duty last year. He is currently placed on the Quetta Gladiators’ roster. Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera is also in the mix as a Platinum category player, Perera has represented Gladiators in the past.
South African and Karachi Kings batsman Colin Ingram returns as a Platinum signing 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,” said Ingram. “The quality of cricket at 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.”
All those foreign players on this list 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 promise to offer great excitement for PSL fans as teams will make key decisions on player retention, trades and releases.
“This is a very exciting mix of top quality foreign players,” said Mr. Ehsan Mani, Chairman PCB. “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.”–APP