Former Twenty20 captain Younis Khan remained unsold as the Pakistan Super League (PSL) draft concluded on Tuesday with Abdul Razzaq and Saeed Ajmal the most notable last-minute inclusions.
It is worth noting that Pakistan’s only World T20 title came under Younis’ leadership in 2009 and the 38-year-old had expressed a desire to feature in the PSL in a similar role.
His omission is likely to create another storm just weeks after the prolific batsman ended his ODI career amid much drama at the start of the England series.
Veteran all-rounder Razzaq and spin wizard Ajmal were, however, picked by Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United, respectively, at the very end of the draft process as franchises opted for younger talent in the initial rounds.
On Monday, Pakistan’s T20 skipper Shahid Afridi became the first pick of the PSL after Peshawar Zalmi signed up the flamboyant all-rounder to play for its franchise.
With 308 cricketers on board, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) kicked off players’ drafting for ‘Platinum’, ‘Diamond’ and ‘Gold’ categories yesterday while players belonging to the ‘Silver’ and ‘Emerging’ categories were inducted into the league’s five franchises today.
Shahid Afridi said he would have loved to play for any team but it made more sense for him to play for Peshawar Zalmi because it complements the work his foundation is doing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s remote areas.
Giving credit to the PCB for organising the mega cricket league, Afridi said the platform should be used to promote new faces and to encourage new talent.
Karachi Kings didn’t hesitate in signing up the former captain Shoaib Malik to play for them, while Quetta Gladiators got England star Kevin Pietersen.
But Lahore Qalandars perhaps made the most interesting pick for its franchise by signing West Indian hardhitter Chris Gayle. Shane Watson of Australia was picked up by Islamabad United.
The PSL has already finalised the sale of commercial rights for franchises, broadcast, and title sponsorship.
“By opting for a draft system in place of a player auction, PSL will ensure a level-playing field as each team will have to choose a certain number of players from each category. As a result of this, each team will spend an equal amount on drafting players. Top players will, therefore, play for all five teams,” the PCB said in a statement.
Each team will be required to pick three players per category from each of the top three categories (Platinum, Diamond and Gold).
While drafting of two emerging players will be mandatory, a team will also be able to pick up to five players from the ‘Silver’ category in order to complete the squad.
Each team will have a minimum of four foreign players in the playing 11. The inaugural edition of the PSL is scheduled to take place from Feb 4-23, 2016 in Dubai and Sharjah.