It’s that time of the year again! Hello and Welcome to ESPNcricinfo’s blog for the draft ahead of the ninth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) which is tentatively scheduled from February 8 to March 24 2024. The draft is being held at the Bob Woolmer Indoor Cricket School, NCA Lahore. The usual drill will begin in about an hour. We’ll walk you through each draft pick.
Teams can pick up to three each from the Platinum, Diamond and Gold categories, five from Silver, two from Emerging and two from Supplementary, forming a squad of 18.
Ahead of the draft during the trade and retention window, each team could keep eight players.
As per the convention, each of the six teams will be allowed to use the Right to Match (RTM) Card once which will allow them to recruit back a player. The team using the card will be paying the RTM price to the other team
PSL draft pick order
Let’s first take a look at the pick order so you won’t be caught by surprise, and then we can move on to other matters. Multan Sultans will make the first pick in the Platinum category
PSL – a launching pad for young budding cricketers
There have been quite a few cricketers who might have been lost in the labyrinth—that is Pakistan domestic cricket—had they not been scouted by PSL franchises and groomed. PSL has gained a reputation for being a highly competitive league where overseas players are challenged by domestic talent, particularly from pacers. The league has provided a platform for emerging young cricketers to hone their skills, serving as a launching pad for their careers by offering them invaluable exposure and opportunities to strut their stuff. It opens up more opportunities for them in the world of T20 leagues. Now let’s see which franchise manages to build the strongest team that covers all their bases
Phil Simmons is ready for the draft
The newly appointed Karachi Kings coach, Phil Simmons, has touched down in Lahore for the PSL 9 draft
Let’s turn our attention towards player retentions
All teams have completed their trades and player retentions ahead of the PSL Player Draft 2024.
Each team was allowed a maximum of eight retentions and apart from Multan Sultans, every team utilized their full quota. Multan Sultans retained seven players.
Fakhar Zaman and Lahore Qalandars are an inseparable duo
Just like last season, Lahore Qalandars are expected to draft Fakhar Zaman, but this time around they don’t have the first pick. They are likely to use their right-to-match card to keep their most coveted asset in their side. Fakhar Zaman ranks as the second-highest run-scorer in PSL; he has amassed 2368 runs in 76 matches.
Lahore Qalandars, the defending champions, retained their captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, in the Platinum category. In the Diamond category, Haris Rauf assumed the role of the team’s brand ambassador. Zimbabwe’s top-flight all-rounder Sikandar Raza, was retained in the Gold category, while Rashid Khan, was retained in Silver, despite potential tournament absence due to injury. Top-order batter Mirza Tahir Baig was successfully retained in Silver after a relegation request.
Lahore Qalandars: Shaheen Shah Afridi (Platinum), Haris Rauf (Brand Ambassador) and David Wiese (both Diamond), Sikandar Raza, Abdullah Shafique and Zaman Khan (all Gold), Mirza Tahir Baig (relegation request approved) and Rashid Khan (both Silver).
Islamabad United Retentions
Islamabad United, who won the title in 2016 and 2018, retained their mainstay Shadab Khan and roped in Naseem Shah through a trade in the Platinum category. Imad Wasim, who has left Karachi Kings, will feature for Islamabad United in the Diamond category and he has also been appointed as the team’s Mentor. Faheem Ashraf in Gold-category was named the Brand Ambassador and Rumman Raees was retained in Silver after a relegation request.
Rumman Raees has served as a bowling consultant for Islamabad United before and has been part of their core group. Looks like Islamabad will once again try to assemble a squad that has big hitters as their overseas signings and they already have plenty of firepower in their batting with Alex Hales, Colin Munro, Azam Khan and Imad Wasim in their ranks. Asif Ali wasn’t retained, but his recent performance in the Abu Dhabi T10 League might just prompt United’s think tank to consider bringing him back into their lineup. Asif Ali represented New York Strikers and slammed an unbeaten 48-run knock that helped them beat Deccan Gladiators in the final
Islamabad United: Shadab Khan and Naseem Shah (both Platinum), Imad Wasim (Mentor) and Azam Khan (both Diamond), Faheem Ashraf (Brand Ambassador), Alex Hales and Colin Munro (all Gold), Rumman Raees (relegation request in Silver approved).
Multan Sultans Retentions
Multan Sultans retained their captain and a vital cog in their side, Mohammad Rizwan in the Platinum category. The other Platinum player is basher of the ball Iftikhar Ahmed who was added through a trade with Quetta Gladiators. The tearaway quick Ihsanullah, who ruffled many batters with his searing pace and bounce last season, won the PSL 2023 Player of the Tournament and has been named the Brand Ambassador for the upcoming season after being retained in the Silver category. Dextrous left-arm spinner Faisal Akram has been retained in Emerging through a successful trade with Karachi Kings.
Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed (both Platinum), Khushdil Shah and Usama Mir (both Diamond), Abbas Afridi (Gold), Ihsanullah (Brand Ambassador, Silver), Faisal Akram (Emerging)
Karachi Kings Retentions
Karachi Kings retained Shan Masood and Shoaib Malik in Gold. Shan Masood was traded for Faisal Akram before the trade window closed and was also named the Brand Ambassador of the team while seasoned campaigner Shoaib Malik was appointed as the team Mentor. Left-arm pacer Mir Hamza, who is currently with the Pakistan Test team in Australia, was retained in Silver after a successful relegation request
Karachi Kings: James Vince and Hasan Ali (Diamond), Shan Masood (Brand Ambassador), Shoaib Malik (Mentor) and Tabraiz Shamsi (all Gold), Mir Hamza (relegation request approved) and Muhammad Akhlaq (both Silver), Muhammad Irfan Khan (Emerging)
Quetta Gladiators Retentions
Quetta Gladiators retained their middle-order rock Rilee Rossouw in Platinum and leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga in Diamond. Speedster Mohammad Wasim Jnr and leg-spinner Abrar Ahmed were retained in Diamond and Gold, respectively, after a successful trade. A familiar face in Twenty20 leagues Jason Roy, who holds the elusive record of scoring the highest individual score in PSL history, was also retained in Diamond. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the team’s Brand Ambassador, was retained in the Gold category.
Quetta Gladiators: Rilee Rossouw (Platinum), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Jason Roy and Wanindu Hasaranga (all Diamond), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Brand Ambassador) Abrar Ahmed and Mohammad Hasnain (all Gold), Will Smeed (Silver).
Peshawar Zalmi Retentions
Leading run-scorer in PSL Babar Azam, who recently stepped down as Pakistan captain in all formats, is retained by Peshawar Zalmi in Platinum alongside West Indies power-hitter Rovman Powell. Mohammad Haris was retained in the Gold category and named the Brand Ambassador. Peshawar look top-heavy with Babar Azam and man-in-form Saim Ayub at the top.
Kohler-Cadmore has been a run-machine across all formats in his first season with Somerset this year and averaged 34.92 with a strike rate of 160.32. Rovman Powell played a few blistering knocks earlier this year in the Carribean Premier League (CPL) for Barbados Royals; it’s hard to stop him once he gets going and the swashbuckling batter often provides impetus towards the end of an innings. Not to mention, Mohammad Haris and Haseebullah will add more versatility to an already imposing batting line-up
Peshawar Zalmi: Babar Azam and Rovman Powell (both Platinum), Saim Ayub and Tom Kohler-Cadmore (all Diamond), Mohammad Haris (Brand Ambassador) and Aamir Jamal (both Gold), Khurram Shahzad (Silver), Haseebullah (Emerging)