Dale Steyn is set to return to shores of Pakistan after 12 years gap to enthral raucous crowds in the cricket-crazy nation.
The spin duo from England, Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, alongside swashbuckling England opener Jason Roy are among the 28 international players to join the Platinum category for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 edition.
PSL is going from strength to strength and gearing up for its fifth edition - which is entirely planned in Pakistan. More international big shots could enter the glitzy competition before the registration window closes on November 21.
It will be a riveting battle between South Africa's premier pacer and Pakistan's incumbent limited-overs captain Babar Azam in the upcoming season. Both accomplished players engaged in a neck to neck tussle, not long ago, in the Test match at Centurian where Babar smothered the bowling spearhead for ten boundaries.
Steyn, who has been a bugbear for the batsmen throughout his international career, is thrilled to be part of the top-notch T20 league and is keen on regaling the vociferous spectators: “Cricket means the world to Pakistani fans and I am excited that I will get to be a part of the Pakistan Super League draft pool."
Hashim Amla was part of the touring party in 2007 in the Test match series and later returned in 2017 with ICC World XI for a three-match T20I series in Lahore which was a huge leap towards cricket's return to Pakistan.
England's lower-order attacking batsman and off-spinner Moeen Ali is delighted to be part of PSL Player Draft and he hopes to add more razzmatazz to the PSL 5.
“I am very excited that I am going to be a part of such an incredible pool of players for the PSL Player Draft. On the circuit, players talk about the quality cricket that they have experienced playing in the PSL and I can’t wait to be a part of it," said Moeen.
Roy has been a popular figure in PSL previous seasons. He represented Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators. The flamboyant opener has been overwhelmed with the hospitality of Pakistani people and the camaraderie he enjoyed with his teammates.
“Pakistan cricket always offers unique and exciting stuff and this tournament is no different. They have some of the most passionate fans in the world and it is extremely heartening to experience this passion. I have had brief but memorable stints at the PSL and it's great to be back in the pool," said Roy.
Other regular members of PSL who have set their eyes on much-awaited PSL 5 season include Alex Hales and West Indies’ power hitter Kieron Pollard - both are eager to light up the cricket fields in Pakistan and entertain the crowd royally.
Alex Hales, who has played for Islamabad United franchise previously, said: “I had a great experience playing in Karachi last year and I can’t forget the love that I received from Pakistani fans. HBL PSL has grown so much in such little time and it is definitely an exciting tournament to be a part of.”
Kieron Pollard, who seen in action in this year's PSL while representing Peshawar Zalmi, said: “Last year, I truly experienced what cricket means to Pakistani fans as I played in front of jam-packed crowds. It was definitely a highlight in my career and I hope that the HBL PSL festivity continues this season as well.”
PCB will announce the complete player roster by November 21 with the finalized players' list. Thus far, players who have expressed interest to feature in the next year's competition include:
Australia – Dan Christian, Ben Cutting and Chris Lynn
England – Moeen Ali, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid and Jason Roy
Nepal – Sandeep Lamichhane
New Zealand – Colin Munro
South Africa – Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Rilee Rossouw, Dale Steyn and Imran Tahir
Sri Lanka – Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera
West Indies – Carlos Brathwaite, Dwayne Bravo, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard