Pakistan Super League: How the six teams stack up after conclusion of player draft

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The player draft for the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was concluded on Friday in Lahore with the six franchises completing their respective rosters.

Plenty of international stars and local Pakistan talent entered their names to the draft. Big names such as South Africa stalwart Dale Steyn, explosive England opener Jason Roy and New Zealander dasher Colin Munro were up for grabs.

Here, we review how the six teams stack up ahead of the 2020 PSL which gets under way in February 20 next year.

Quetta Gladiators

Squad: Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hasnain, Ahsan Ali, Naseem Shah, Jason Roy, Ben Cutting, Sohail Khan, Tymal Mills, Abdul Nasir, Arish Ali Khan, Azam Khan, Keemo Paul, Khurram Manzoor

The defending champions had already retained a strong core comprising of skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal before entering the draft. They have now enforced their squad by picking Jason Roy, Ben Cutting, Keemo Paul and Tymal Mills in Friday’s auction.

Quetta also have two young Pakistan pacers in the form of Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah in their roster, and are shaping up as heavy favourites to retain their crown.

Karachi Kings

Squad: Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim (c), Iftikhar Ahmed, Aamir Yamin, Usama Mir, Umer Khan, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Sharjeel Khan, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Delport, Mohammad Rizwan, Umaid Asif, Dan Lawrence, Ali Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Liam Plunkett, Awais Zia

Having finished a disappointing fourth in the last edition, Karachi Kings have made some excellent signings in the player draft to put themselves in contention for 2020. They have gone heavy on the English flavor for their overseas purchases with Alex Hales, Chris Jordan and Liam Plunkett being picked up in the draft.

With the No1 ranked T20I batsman in the world Babar Azam already retained along with Mohammad Amir and skipper Imad Wasim, there is no shortage of firepower in the Karachi squad. Young spinner Umer Khan is another player who has been retained after his impressive displays in the 2019 edition while Jordan and Plunkett’s inclusion should add plenty of steel to their pace attack.

With Hales coming in with a point to prove, the Kings have arguably the most destructive opener among all franchises.

Lahore Qalandars

Squad: Fakhar Zaman (c), Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, David Wiese, Usman Shinwari, Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar, Salman Butt, Chris Lynn, Samit Patel, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ben Dunk, Farzan Raja, Jaahid Ali, Mohammad Faizan, Lendl Simmons, Dilbar Hussain

Having finished bottom of the table once again in 2019, Lahore were dealt a further blow ahead of the player draft with star man AB de Villiers pulling out of the tournament. To replace the South African’s runs, the Qalandars did well to snag up Australia’s Chris Lynn in the Platinum Category pick.

They have also picked up experienced England all-rounder Samit Patel who should provide plenty of balance to the squad. Lahore had opted to retain Fakhar Zaman, veteran Mohammad Hafeez and young star Shaheen Afridi for next year’s edition and surprisingly, Salman Butt.

The worrying aspect for them is the floundering T20 form of skipper Fakhar, although the acquisitions of Australia’s Ben Dunk and Windies’ Lendl Simmons are smart ones. The key for them will be finding the right balance after multiple failures over the years despite having star-studded line-ups.

Islamabad United

Squad: Shadab Khan (c), Faheem Ashraf, Asif Ali, Luke Ronchi, Hussain Talat, Amad Butt, Musa Khan, Rizwan Hussain, Dale Steyn, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Rumman Raees, Phil Salt, Zafar Gohar, Akif Javed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Saif Badar, Rassie van der Dussen

The 2016 and 2018 champions will be hard to beat once again after they added plenty of stardust to an already strong core. Steyn’s inclusion will be a big factor while Rassie van der Dussen is a solid buy for the batting unit. They have also managed to get their hands on Blackcaps opener Colin Munro and he should prove to be a decent pick as well.

They smartly retained Shadab, Faheem, Asif Ali and Luke Ronchi from last year’s squad and the four players are proven performers at the PSL level. There is no reason why Islamabad can make it to another final if their main men live up to expectations. They are the most successful franchise in the tournament’s short history and they have once again built up a formidable roster.

Peshawar Zalmi

Squad: Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard, Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal, Darren Sammy (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Tom Banton, Shoaib Malik, Liam Dawson, Mohammad Mohsin, Rahat Ali, Dwaine Pretorius, Adil Amin, Amir Khan, Aamir Ali, Liam Livingstone, Haider Ali Khan

Last year’s runners-up have managed to beat other teams to the signature of hot England property Tom Banton and the young batsman is definitely one to watch out for after some sensational knocks in the Vitality T20 Blast.

With the talismanic Windies duo of Sammy and Pollard retained already, Peshawar have a squad brimming with quality from top to bottom. The experience brought by Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Kamran Akmal will be crucial while the England duo of Liam Dawson and Liam Livingstone are decent additions to an already stacked roster.

Multan Sultans

Squad: Mohammad Irfan, Shahid Afridi, (c) James Vince, Junaid Khan, Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood, Mohammad Ilyas, Moeen Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ravi Bopara, Sohail Tanvir, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Fabian Allen, Rohail Nazir, Imran Tahir, Bilawal Bhatti

It is Multan who are looking worse off among all franchises after the draft after they lost star names such as Steve Smith and Andre Russell due to their unavailability for the 2020 edition.

They will be looking to an ageing Shahid Afridi for inspiration once again although they have managed to rope in England all-rounders Moeen Ali and Ravi Bopara. Their best buy in the player draft is most certainly Imran Tahir with the veteran South African spinner being among the best T20 bowlers in the business.

With the squad at their disposal, they have their work cut out in the upcoming edition if they are to improve on their fifth-place finish in 2019. They do have experienced former England coach Andy Flower at the helm.

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