PSL Draft: McCullum top pick, Gayle joins Kings

Barnaby Read 21:13 19/10/2016
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Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum was the top pick of the 2017 Pakistan Super League [PSL] draft held at Dubai’s Sports City, confirmed as Lahore Qalandars’ captain for the second edition of the tournament.

McCullum was announced as the Qalandars’ star man last month, replacing Azhar Ali as skipper.

The 35-year-old, who retired from international cricket in February last year, said the Qalandars project was the driving force behind his decision.

“It’s great to be involved in the PSL and being here and experiencing the draft. It’s quite unique,” said McCullum.

“At Lahore Qalandars, it’s the people that struck me. They’ve got great owners and the [open player trials] had over 113,000 try out for the Qalandars and that’s the reach cricket can have around the world.

“That instantly attracted me to the Qalandars. It’s great to be involved. We’re a team effort, we’ve got a great team researching the data behind it and that gives us a really good chance of getting the team we’re after.”

The draw for the second edition of the PSL largely stuck to the script, with the majority of the franchises happy to retain their players rather than shake up their playing squads.

Other notable deals were announced in advance of the draft, as was the case with Chris Gayle’s trade to Karachi Kings from Quetta Gladiators, the West Indian opener being the second name out of the hat.

“It’s a great feeling to actually be a part of the Karachi Kings, it takes a King to be a part of the Kings,” said the ever modest Gayle.

“Qalandars, thank you guys but I’m in a new team now and it’s new goals. [Karachi Kings coach] Mickey Arthur, I’ve been around his coaching methods and I know him well and I’m looking forward to entertaining people as much as possible.”

Of the new faces in the league, England captain Eoin Morgan [Peshawar Zalmi], Sunil Narine [Lahore Qalandars] and Kieron Pollard [Karachi Kings] all went in the Platinum round of picks.

West Indies’ T20I captain Carlos Brathwaite [Quetta Qalandars] was another newbie on the move, this time in the Diamond section, while Yasir Shah was finally snapped up by the Qalandars having missed last year’s tournament after being banned by the ICC for a failed drug test.

One of the biggest surprises came in the Peshawar Zalmi setup as last year’s captain Shahid Afridi announced that retained West Indian Darren Sammy would lead the team in 2017.

“You have not been respected by your board but I believe I can show you the respect a champion deserves,” said Afridi shortly after announcing that Younis Khan would play the role as batting coach and mentor for Peshawar.

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