Dubai, UAE – 2016: The HBL Pakistan Super League made its hugely-anticipated comeback for the next season by staging the HBL Pakistan Super League Player Draft which took place here at The Dome of the ICC Cricket Academy. Witnessing all the five franchises picking 20 players each during the Draft.
Kicking off the proceedings, it was declared that this was the biggest draft yet with more than 400 players up for grabs. HBL PSL has already made huge strides in bringing cricket back to Pakistan, with more foreign players signing up for the new season. The Chairman, Pakistan Super League, Mr. Najam Sethi made a landmark announcement, that the Final of the HBL PSL would take place in Lahore; the first step in bringing the entire tournament back to the country.
In honour of Pakistan being the No. 1 team in the ICC Test rankings, Mr. Najam Sethi presented each Team owner with the commemorative baggy greens cap that the team used while playing their 400th Test match.
The Draft Pick order was announced, based on the last team from the previous edition, Lahore Qalandars being the first to pick, and the Winning team, Islamabad United being the last. With the Draft, officially open, the highly-anticipated Platinum Round came first. Lahore Qalandars, in their first pick chose, one of the biggest players of the season, New Zealand’s star ex-captain Brendon McCullum who shall act as the Mentor of the team as well.
In the biggest trade of the season, West Indies’ stellar all-rounder Chris Gayle was traded by Lahore Qalandars to Karachi Kings. Peshawar Zalmi made their chief retention, by retaining their former Captain Shahid Afridi, similarly Quetta retained their star batsman Kevin Pietersen. Reigning champions, Islamabad United opted to retain their all-star Captain, Misbah-Ul-Haq. The Platinum Round One players were each presented with an exclusive jersey, with their names in encrusted jewels, sponsored by Swaroskvi.
The Draft saw many of the top international cricket starts; Brendon McCullum, Darren Sammy, Chris Gayle and Kevin Pieterson personally going through the Draft process; joined by the Pakistani legends Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja to name a few; and the current lot including Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz, Sarfraz Ahmed, and Imad Wasim.
The Teams that opted to take maximum benefit from their previous season’s squad coupling them with the best players from the new signings. Islamabad United chose to retain the majority of their squad, while competing hotly in the Supplementary rounds. Quetta Gladiators also chose to retain a significant number of the players, and Peshawar Zalmi who chose Darren Sammy, as their new Captain and Younis Khan as their new Mentor. The biggest shake-ups were seen in Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, who chose to revamp their teams entirely; benefitting from their Player Development Programs.
In an historic first, the Event was covered live by international broadcasters, along-with Ramiz Raja covering the entire show in a studio show live at the Event. This was seen as landmark step, as HBL Pakistan Super league is gaining international significance and value, especially for the upcoming season.
The Teams as comprised are below:
Imran Khan Jr