The replacement player draft for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 was held at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Thursday, where Multan Sultans picked West Indies All-Rounder, Andre Russell. The T20 specialist has been picked as the replacement of the injured Steve Smith by Multan Sultans.
Andre Russell was initially not part of the PSL roster but has played in the tournament before for two-time winners Islamabad United. The West Indian led Islamabad to the inaugural title, where he was the leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets in 10 games. His contributions in the third edition also helped the capital franchise capture the title for the 2nd time.
The Sultans also added the name of James Vince to their star squad, as a replacement for Joe Denly, who has national commitments. Vince has been in scintillating form, smashing fifties for Sydney Sixers in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL). Both Vince and Russell will now be a part of an experienced roster that includes the likes of captain Shoaib Malik and veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Quetta Gladiators have picked West Indian batsman, Dwayne Smith, as a cover for Dwayne Bravo, who will arrive in the PSL on 27th February. Smith already has 679 PSL runs to his name while playing for Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in the previous editions.
Lahore Qalandars have opted for the services of South African stars Hardus Viljoen and David Wiese to cover for the limited availability of AB de Villiers, Corey Anderson, and Carlos Brathwaite. AB de Villiers will only be available for the group stage matches for the Qalandars.
Despite a poor PSL season last year where he only managed 86 runs in five games, Andre Fletcher has been picked by Peshawar Zalmi to replace Waqar Salamkheil. The latter has pulled out of the league due to national duty.
The draft also saw the picks of the 21st player by the franchises as allowed by the PCB. 27-year Hammad Azam was picked by Multan Sultans. The all-rounder has an average of 22 and 24 with the bat and ball respectively and was part of Peshawar Zalmi last year. Young middle-order batter, Saad Ali, has been picked by the Lahore Qalandars. Saad was part of the Quetta Gladiators last season and scored 183 runs at 91.5 in the recently concluded National T20 cup.
Right-arm pacer, Mohammad Irfan Jr joined Quetta Gladiators as their 21st member, following his stints with Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings. Left-arm spinner Umer Khan became Karachi’s 21st pick after the spinner impressed with his domestic form. On the other hand, Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United are yet to announce their 21st player.
Defending champions Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars will kick-off PSL 2019 on 14th February in Dubai. Moreover, Abu Dhabi will host the PSL for the first time in history before the tournament shifts into Pakistan for the last eight games.
Three of them will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore while the remaining games including the final will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi.