Pakistan Super League Is Ready to Kick Start in UAE in February
Dubai: HBL, Pakistan's largest bank, joined hands with Pakistan Super League (PSL) as the cricket tournament's title sponsor of the inaugural event to be held in the UAE in February this year. The league will now officially be known as HBL Pakistan Super League and has managed an impressive roster of top international cricketers and coaches. In addition, franchise ownership rights were sold for a whopping $93 million, making it the single largest investment in any kind of sport in Pakistan.
The finest Twenty20 players in world cricket have been snapped by the five franchises that will play in the HBL Pakistan Super League to be held in the UAE in February. The player draft that took place at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore saw the five franchises picking nine players each.
Lahore Qalandars got flamboyant West Indies opener Chris Gayle while Islamabad United bagged Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. Quetta Gladiators got England's star batsman Kevin Pietersen.
With a large population of Pakistan fans living in UAE, the inaugural PSL with top players is expected to draw large crowds. The Pakistan Cricket Board have already booked all the top stadiums in the UAE for the event.
PSL had opted for a draft in place of an auction in order to ensure better competition with the result that all five teams are equally stocked with star power and skill. Peshawar Zalmi made the first pick and opted for Pakistan's T20 captain Shahid Afridi. Pakistan's in-form all-rounder Shoaib Malek went to Karachi Kings.
Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan will also be seen in action. Dilshan, known for his innovative shots known as 'Dilscoop', is set to enthrall UAE fans with his whirlwind knocks. He has been picked up by Karachi Kings.
Fast bowler Mohammad Amir, who was banned from the game for his involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, will also be in action for Karachi Kings. Peshawar went for Australian star spinner Brad Hodge for their team.
Islamabad went on to pick England wicketkeeper Sam Billings. However, it is doubtful whether Billings will be available as the dates of the tournament clash with England's South Africa tour and Billings might be selected for the tour.
It is understood that Lasith Malinga pulled out of his contract with PSL wanting to prepare for the oncoming World Twenty20 event. Pakistan skipper Younis Khan, who led the country to its only World Twenty20 championship, did not get picked, neither did Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene.
Quetta Gladiators picked Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi. Another good pick by Quetta was Asad Shafiq, who is expected to add solidity to their batting line-up. Quetta also got Sri Lanka's master batsman Kumar Sangakkara. Karachi got their local boy Fawad Alam while Azhar Ali was picked up by Lahore.
Among the Bangladesh players, seamer Mustafizur Rahman was taken by Lahore while hard-hitting opener Tamim Iqbal was chosen by Peshawar. All-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be in the Karachi side.
The coaches of the five teams will be Mickey Arthur for Karachi Kings; Mohammad Akram for Peshawar Zalmi; Dean Jones for Islamabad United; Paddy Upton for Lahore Qalandars; and Moin Khan for Quetta Gladiators.
Teams: (all 20 players)
Islamabad United: 1 Shane Watson, 2 Andre Russell, 3 Misbah-ul-Haq, 4 Samuel Badree, 5 Mohammad Irfan, 6 Brad Haddin, 7 Sharjeel Khan, 8 Mohammad Sami, 9 Khalid Latif, 10 Babar Azam, 11 Imran Khalid, 12 Kamran Ghulam, 13 Umar Amin, 14 Sam Billings, 15 Rumman Raees, 16 Amad Butt, 17 Ashar Zaidi, 18 Saeed Ajmal, 19 Hussain Talat, 20 Umar Siddiq
Karachi Kings: 1 Shoaib Malik, 2 Shakib Al Hasan, 3 Sohail Tanvir, 4 Imad Wasim, 5 Ravi Bopara, 6 Lendl Simmons, 7 Mohammad Amir, 8 Bilawal Bhatti, 9 James Vince, 10 Iftikhar Ahmed, 11 Nauman Anwar, 12 Mushfiqur Rahim, 13 Usama Mir, 14 Sohail Khan, 15 Mir Hamza, 16 Safiullah Bangash, 17 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 18 Shahzaib Hasan, 19 Fawad Alam
Peshawar Zalmi: 1 Shahid Afridi, 2 Wahab Riaz, 3 Darren Sammy, 4 Kamran Akmal, 5 Mohammad Hafeez, 6 Chris Jordan, 7 Tamim Iqbal, 8 Junaid Khan, 9 Jim Allenby, 10 Aamer Yamin, 11 Dawid Malan, 12 Imran Khan jr, 13 Shahid Yousuf, 14 Abdur Rehman, 15 Musadiq Ahmed, 16 Hasan Ali, 17 Mohammad Asghar, 18 Brad Hodge, 19 Israrullah, 20 Taj Wali
Quetta Gladiators: 1 Kevin Pietersen, 2 Sarfraz Ahmed, 3 Ahmed Shehzad, 4 Anwar Ali, 5 Jason Holder, 6 Luke Wright, 7 Zulfiqar Babar, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Elton Chigumbura, 10 Bilal Asif, 11 Asad Shafiq, 12 Mohammad Nawaz, 13 Saad Nasim, 14 Mohammad Nabi, 15 Akbar-ur-Rehman, 16 Bismillah Khan, 17 Kumar Sangakkara, 18 Aizaz Cheema, 19 Rameez Raja Jr.
Lahore Qalandars: 1 Chris Gayle, 2 Dwayne Bravo, 3 Umar Akmal, 4 Mohammad Rizwan, 5 Yasir Shah, 6 Shoaib Maqsood, 7 Mustafizur Rahman, 8 Kevon Cooper, 9 Cameron Delport, 10 Zafar Gohar, 11 Hammad Azam, 12 Zia-ul-Haq, 13 Zohaib Khan, 14 Azhar Ali, 15 Naved Yasin, 16 Adnan Rasool, 17 Abdul Razzaq, 18 Mukhtar Ahmed, 19 Ehsan Adil, 20 Imran Butt