The newly-promoted T20I captain Babar Azam has been placed in the Platinum category ahead of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 5 draft. Imam-ul-Haq, Haris Sohail and Asif Ali are placed in the Diamond category.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) CEO Wasim Khan has high hopes from the PSL 5 edition which is going to be entirely staged in Pakistan.
“Our preparations are in full swing, the HBL PSL 2020 edition will be held in Pakistan, we are focused on delivering another world-class edition of the prestigious league," affirmed Wasim Khan.
PCB announces player roster for PSL 2020 edition ©PCB
“With the completion of the category renewal process for the upcoming season of the HBL Pakistan Super League we have reached an important milestone. These are exciting times as we move closer and closer towards the 2020 season which will be a truly historic one as all 34 matches will be played in Pakistan," Wasim Khan said.
Wasim is striving to take the PSL to new heights and make it a momentous tournament for the fans.
“HBL PSL has become one of the most sought after T20 leagues in the world, the next edition will be even bigger and better, I am sure league fans both in Pakistan and around the world will enjoy top-class cricket, with world-class facilities at the stadiums and top-quality broadcast once the tournament begins in February 2020,” he added.
Players who have represented Pakistan were put in the Gold category and a new rule of drafting limits franchises to retain up to eight players from last edition's roster.
Also, the players who are under 23, but have been inducted into the Pakistan national team before the category assigning process can no longer remain part of the emerging category.
Teams have been allowed to forward relegation requests - after consent from the player - before submitting the final retention list.
Shahid Afridi, the man who redefined cricket with his coruscating strokeplay, is still a crowd puller and has secured the platinum category for the fifth time consecutively.
The 20-year-old Umer Khan, who dismissed one of the greatest batsmen of all times AB de Villiers, was the fourth leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps in this year's PSL and had a fabulous debut in the league.
Umer was rated highly by Mickey Arthur (former Pakistan head coach) but he is still placed in the emerging category despite an impressive PSL debut. Given the dearth of quality spinners in the domestic setup, his promotion to an upper category might have been fitting.
The Hyderabad born leggie Ibtesam Sheikh played for Peshawar Zalmi in the preceding seasons; he is another fascinating prospect assigned in the silver category. The young wrist spinner has the bag of tricks to represent Pakistan at the top level.