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Misbah, Shahid Afridi released; Azam retained in platinum category

Shahid Afridi, Misbah ul Haq, Kumar Sangakkara, Mohammad Hafeez, Shakib Al Hasan, and Kieron Pollard were the major players to be released by their respective Pakistan Super League (PSL) teams as the retention window approached its lasts hours on Tuesday (November 13). A team could retain up to 10 players in its squad ahead of the of the player draft next week.

Rumours surrounding the retention of Babar Azam settled as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed the final lineups of the six teams ahead of the player draft for the fourth PSL edition. A franchise can have up to three platinum, three diamond, three gold, and five silver category players with two emerging players in its final squad (after the draft). With Azam falling in the platinum category along with Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Amir and Colin Munro, Karachi Kings decided to let go the former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. Currently No.1 in the ICC T20 rankings for batsmen, Azam scored five fifties in 12 matches in the last PSL, accumulating 402 runs at an average of 40.

Karachi Kings ahead of draft: Mohammad Amir (Platinum), Babar Azam (Platinum), Colin Munro (Platinum), Usman Khan (Diamond), Colin Ingram (Diamond, Ambassador), Imad Wasim (Diamond), Mohammad Rizwan (Gold), Ravi Bopara (Gold)

Peshawar Zalmi, the finalists in the previous edition, relegated Kamran Akmal to the diamond category but made him the ambassador of the side in compensation. Zalmi retained Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali in the platinum category as they let go third-ranked T20I all-rounder Shakib. Hafeez, after recently returning to Pakistan’s T20I and Test sides, also follows the Bangladesh international to the draft list which contains over 600 players.

Peshawar Zalmi ahead of draft: Wahab Riaz (Platinum), Hasan Ali (Platinum), Darren Sammy (Diamond), Kamran Akmal (Diamond, Ambassador), Liam Dawson (Gold), Umaid Asif (Silver), Khalid Usman (Silver), Sameen Gul (Emerging)

Islamabad United, the defending champions and the winners of the inaugural edition, have all of their platinum slots full as they retained destructive opening batsman and top scorer of the last edition – Luke Ronchi – along with Faheem Ashraf, highest wicket-taker of last PSL, and Shadab Khan. Their vice-captain in the previous edition, Rumman Raees was relegated to gold category. He captained most of the United’s matches as Misbah nursed a hand injury before being ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury. South African middle-order batsman JP Duminy, now released, was then given the reins of the side.

Islamabad United ahead of draft: Shadab Khan (Platinum), Luke Ronchi (Platinum), Faheem Ashraf (Platinum), Mohammad Sami (Diamond), Asif Ali (Diamond), Rumman Raees (Gold), Hussain Talat (Silver, Ambassador), Sahibzada Farhan (Silver), Zafar Gohar (Silver), Waqas Maqsood (Silver)

After swapping Sunil Narine for Hassan Khan with Lahore Qalandars and demoting Shane Watson to diamond category, Quetta Gladiators go in the player draft with one vacant platinum spot. Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Narine fill the other two. They have relegated all-rounder Anwar Ali from gold to silver.

Quetta Gladiators ahead of draft: Sarfraz Ahmed (Platinum), Sunil Narine (Platinum), Shane Watson (Diamond, Mentor), Sohail Tanvir (Diamond), Mohammad Nawaz (Diamond), Rilee Rossouw (Gold, Ambassador), Umar Akmal (Gold), Anwar Ali (Silver), Saud Shakil (Silver)

Fakhar Zaman is the sole player in the platinum category at Lahore Qalandars currently. They have the first platinum pick in the draft which provides them an opportunity to bag either AB de Villiers or Steve Smith. With their former captain Brendon McCullum parting ways with Qalandars, the franchise will take a decision on their new captain after the draft, a franchise spokesperson told Cricbuzz. Eighteen-year-old Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has been on a rapid rise and was awarded Man of the Series Award for his nine wickets in the ODI series against New Zealand, was made Qalandars’ ambassador. Qalandars had earlier traded Umar Akmal with Quetta Gladiators for Rahat Ali.

Lahore Qalandars ahead of draft: Fakhar Zaman (Platinum), Yasir Shah (Diamond), Anton Devcich (Gold), Rahat Ali (Gold), Shaheen Afridi (Gold, Ambassador), Hassan Khan (Silver), Agha Salman (Silver), Sohail Akhtar (Silver)

Like the Qalandars, The Sixth Team, formerly Multan Sultans, also have two platinum spots available with their captain Shoaib Malik being the only player in the category. They traded T20 specialist all-rounder Sohail Tanvir to Quetta Gladiators for a diamond round pick. After the PCB terminated Schon Properties Broker LLC franchise rights over Multan Sultans, the cricket board will be picking players for the team.

The Sixth Team ahead of draft: Shoaib Malik (Platinum), Junaid Khan (Diamond), Mohammad Irfan (Diamond, Ambassador), Shan Masood (Gold), Mohammad Abbas (Silver), Mohammad Irfan Khan (Silver), Umar Siddiq (Silver), Mohammad Junaid (Emerging)

The fourth PSL player draft will be held in Islamabad on November 20. The fourth edition of the PSL starts on February 14 in the UAE. The PCB plans to host as many as eight matches across Lahore and Karachi with the final in the latter.

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