The second HBL PSL draft was held in the ICC Academy Dome last month and it was exciting to see who the teams picked.
Lets look at how the teams fared at the draft.
The Qalanders had the first pick and stole the show with their pick of the New Zealand superstar, Brendon McCullum (as captain and mentor). Considering the spin friendly conditions of the UAE, the Qalanders have a extraordinary spin attack with Yasir Shah, Sunil Narine and Anton Devcich. They also picked some young spinners like Zafar Gohar and Usman Qadir. The fast bowling attack is not far behind either with T20 specialist Sohail Tanvir and Australian quickie Shaun Tait. A surprising pick was Grant Elliot who performed brilliantly for the Quetta Gladiators last season but this year he was pciekd by the Qalanders. They also retained the enterprising batsman Umar Akmal who compliments Cameron Delport.
The Qalandars finished last in the previous edition but come next edition they will be a force to reckon with Baz leading from the front.
The Gladiators – runners up last season – retained all their platinum players with Kevin Pieterson, Ahmed Shahzad and Sarfaraz Ahmed as well as Luke Wright from the diamond category. The batting department looks extremely strong. One surprising pick by the Gladiators was Tymal Mills, who we saw can crank up some serious pace in the Natwest T20 Blast. The all-rounders look the most well managed in the whole of the PSL teams like Carlos Brathwaite, Mohammed Nabi and David Willey.
Under the inspirational leadership of Sarfraz Ahmed the Gladiators would look to replicate their performance of previous season but go one step further and clinch the trophy this time.
Shaping up to be the most excitement packed team of the 2017 season of the PSL. They have composed their squad with many T20 specialists rather than all-rounders. The Englishman Chris Jordan was picked as well as his country’s captain Eoin Morgan. The exciting Englishman Alex Hales was picked to strengthen the top order along with Shakib-Al-Hasan. The bowling department goes well with the batting including Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali. They retained Tamin Iqbal, Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal who performed well for in the inaugural season.
Shahid Afridi also handed over the captaincy to his good friend Darren Sammy and also made Younis Khan the batting consultant of the Zalmis.
The Kings really had to think hard about how to mould their team to do much better this season and that what they did by picking Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard; both highly rated T20 players due to their superiority in all departments. They also retained a majority of their players like Ravi Bopara, Mohammed Amir and Ravi Bopara. Two surprising picks were the Lankan greats Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakarr (who will lead the Kings in the tournament).
The Karachi Kings won just two matches in their last season but after landing T20 specialists during the draft, they will be confident about putting up a better show and making Kings fans proud.
Saving the best for the last, the champions of season one of the PSL will once again be lead by the Pakistan test captain, Misbah-ul-Haq. Islu has retained many of their players that took them to victory with Andre Russel, Samuel Badree, Brad Haddin and Shane Watson. Islamabad United have a quality spinner in the form of Saeed Ajmal, two genuine fast bowlers in the shape of Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Irfan and many other quality T20 players.
The Islamabad United side have all the resources to repeat the heroics of the inaugural edition but having said that it won’t be an easy task retaining the title especially considering the challenge posed by other franchises.
So that is how the teams shape up in the 2nd season of the HBL Pakistan Super League. Its going to be an action packed tournament with big names like Tymal Mills, Carlos Brathwaite, Kieron Pollard ad Alex Hales. Hope to see you there.
The Cornered Tiger