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Islamabad United

The United had only one major pick in the draft as they had retained Luke Ronchi, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf in Platinum category and Asif Ali and Mohammad Sami in Diamond. In a radical move, they went for England’s Ian Bell who with 580 runs was the third best batsman in England’s T20 tournament this year. They picked two more British players in Samit Patel and Phil Salt. The latter might be an unknown name to some but is one of the finest power-hitters as suggested by his strike rate of 172.33 in the Vitality T20 Blast. The all-rounder Cameron Delport was also picked by the United.

The United were hurt by being last in the pick order because they won the previous tournament – an absurd rule that is likely to be changed next year – yet they didn’t lose the opportunity to shock Lahore Qalandars when they poached Salt. The hard-hitting batsman had played the Abu Dhabi T20 tournament with Lahore and was in their plans to play the PSL as well.

Strengths:

Pakistan’s two best all-rounders Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf

Players available throughout the tournament and willing to travel to Pakistan

Power-hitters in Asif Ali and Salt

Weaknesses:

Too much reliance on the old pros such as Ronchi, Bell and Sami

Lack of captaincy options

Absence of Misbah-ul-Haq, the mastermind behind their two title wins

Possible XI:

1. Luke Ronchi (wk)

2. Ian Bell

3. Hussain Talat

4. Asif Ali

5. Phil Salt

6. Shadab Khan

7. Faheem Ashraf

8. Samit Patel

9. Mohammad Sami

10. Musa Khan

11. Rumman Raees

Lahore Qalandars

Keeping their previous draft strategies in mind, it wasn’t a surprise that Lahore’s first pick was the dashing South Africa batsman AB de Villiers even though he’ll be available for seven games only. In the next platinum pick, they went for Mohammad Hafeez who is likely to be their captain and was arguably their most sensible pick. They bagged two more all-rounders in the next category – Corey Anderson from New Zealand and Carlos Brathwaite from West Indies – and went for Sandeep Lamichhane’s leg-spin in the Gold. Haris Sohail, who had played for Peshawar Zalmi in the past, is now also with Lahore.

With Anton Devcich already retained, Lahore have four all-rounders who can be in the XI at the same time. They also picked Haris Rauf, an emerging pace sensation, and Aizaz Cheema, a veteran fast bowler, to bolster their pace attack. Zimbabwe’s wicketkeeping-batsman Brendan Taylor was picked as a supplementary player.

Strengths:

All-rounders – Hafeez, Anderson, Brathwaite and Devcich

Power-hitting

Weaknesses:

Wicketkeepers who lack credentials of T20 batting

Lack of specialist bowlers

Couple of bowling options (Anderson and Brathwaite) with high economy rate

Possible XI:

1. Fakhar Zaman

2. Mohammad Hafeez

3. Anton Devcich

4. AB de Villiers

5. Corey Anderson

6. Carlos Brathwaite

7. Umair Masood (wk)

8. Yasir Shah

9. Hassan Khan

10. Rahat Ali

11. Shaheen Shah Afridi

Peshawar Zalmi

Peshawar picked the history’s most experienced T20 player, Kieron Pollard, as their only Platinum pick and pouched Islamabad’s former captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the Diamond category. The opener Dawid Malan, who won the PSL final in Lahore in 2017, is also back in Peshawar whereas the middle-order batsman Umar Amin will make Zalmi as his third team after having played for Islamabad and Quetta in the previous PSLs.

The little-known English all-rounder Wayne Madsen was their first pick in the silver category and the middle-order batsman Sohaib Maqsood and wicketkeeper-batsman Jamal Anwar were the next two. Jamal was a surprise pick as he has not played a T20 in over two years. Chris Jordan, who will be partially available, was picked as a supplementary player, as was the 17 years old seamer from Afghanistan Waqar Salamkheil.

Strengths:

A good pace attack in Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali and Sameen Gul

The players with great leadership qualities – Misbah and Daren Sammy

Weaknesses:

A weak and inconsistent middle-order

Lack of top-order batsmen in the squad

Possible XI:

1. Dawid Malan

2. Kamran Akmal (wk)

3. Sohaib Maqsood

4. Misbah-ul-Haq

5. Kieron Pollard

6. Daren Sammy

7. Liam Dawson

8. Wahab Riaz

9. Hasan Ali

10. Sameen Gul

11. Ibtisam Sheikh

Karachi Kings

Karachi is arguably the strongest team on papers and that has little to do with their draft picks. The Kings didn’t have any pick in the major two categories because they retained Babar Azam, Colin Munro, Mohammad Amir (Platinum), Colin Ingram, Imad Wasim and Usman Khan Shinwari (Diamond). As their only Gold pick, they went for Pakistan-born Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza.

Karachi had five empty slots in the silver category which they filled by four local talents Awais Zia, Usama Mir, Sohail Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed and an overseas pace sensation Aaron Summers. The 22-year-old pacer has played one T20 match for Hobart Hurricanes in the Big Bash League where he was seen clocking at 150kmph. They have also roped in Ben Dunk, the Australian opener with highest score of 229 not out in 50 overs cricket, and Liam Livingstone, the English opener with SR of 145plus, as supplementary picks.

Strengths:

An ideal opening combination – the grafter Babar Azam and the dasher Colin Munro

A miser duo to bowl in the Powerplay – Amir and Imad

Weaknesses:

Lack of power-hitters in the lower order

Possible XI:

1. Colin Munro

2. Babar Azam

3. Colin Ingram

4. Sikandar Raza

5. Ravi Bopara

6. Mohammad Rizwan (wk)

7. Imad Wasim

8. Mohammad Amir

9. Usama Mir

10. Usman Khan Shinwari

11. Abrar Ahmed

Quetta Gladiators

Quetta, akin to Karachi and Islamabad, had retained majority of the players and had only one major pick which they used to bring in the seasoned T20 pro Dwayne Bravo. The Windies all-rounder is still a force to a reckon with as this year he became the first player to hit 5 sixes off five balls in CPL. Bravo will bring wealth of T20 experience to the franchise as will Pakistan-born Australian leggie Fawad Ahmed, who was the highest wicket-taker in CPL 2018. Both Bravo and Fawad won the CPL title for Trinbago Knight Riders this year.

Ahmed Shehzad, who was released by Quetta before PSL-3, is back but only as a supplementary pick. Quetta have also added England’s left-arm pacer Harry Gurney. Azam Khan, son of Quetta’s coach Moin Khan, has been re-picked. Azam was part of Quetta’s squad in the last event too but didn’t get a game. Quetta largely relied on local talent in the Silver round picking Danish Aziz, Ahsan Ali and M Asghar.

Strengths:

Very miser spin bowling attack in Narine, Nawaz and Asghar

Good power hitters in Umar Akmal and DJ Bravo

Weaknesses:

No major weakness. Lack of openers in the squad though

If Watson or Shehzad do not deliver, they’ll have to move towards a rookie opener

Possible XI:

1. Ahmed Shehzad

2. Shane Watson

3. Rilee Rossouw

4. Umar Akmal

5. Sarfraz Ahmed

6. Dwayne Bravo

7. Mohammad Nawaz

8. Sunil Narine

9. Sohail Tanvir

10. Mohammad Asghar

11. Ghulam Muddasir

The Sixth Team

The Sixth Team, that will be rebranded with a city name once it finds a new buyer, went with the number two Test batsman Steve Smith as their first Platinum pick and Shahid Afridi, the biggest T20 name in Pakistan, as their second. They used their only Diamond pick for Joe Denly, who was with Karachi in the previous season and earlier this year became the first player in T20 history to score a century and take a hat-trick in the same match.

Laurie Evans was their surprise pick but not so when you look at his recent record in T20s. He was a great success in the Afghanistan Premier League played in Sharjah last month and finished the tournament with 305 runs at a strike-rate of 142.52. The hard-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman Nicholas Pooran was also picked. Tom Moores and Dan Christian were their two overseas picks in the supplementary round. The Sixth Team was picked by Shoaib Malik, who captained it when it was Multan Sultans, the manager Nadeem Khan and Johan Botha. Afghan bowler Qais Ahmad, who troubled Malik with his leg-spin in CPL, has also joined the Sixth Team.

Strengths:

Wealth of experience in Afridi, Smith and Malik

Hard-hitting lower order in Afridi, Pooran and Evans

Weaknesses:

Absence of reputable T20 openers

Afridi’s recent form with the ball and fitness issues

Possible XI:

1. Shan Masood

2. Joe Denly

3. Steve Smith

4. Laurie Evans

5. Shoaib Malik

6. Shahid Afridi

7. Nicholas Pooran (wk)

8. Irfan Khan

9. Ali Shafiq

10. Junaid Khan

11. Mohammad Irfan

#PSL2019#Pakistan Super League PSL 2019#Karachi Kings#Peshawar Zalmi#Lahore Qalandars#Quetta Gladiators#Islamabad United#Multan Sultans