PSL 2021: Most overseas players only partially available this season

Faizan Lakhani
PSL 2021: Most overseas players only partially available this season

Karachi: Over 400 international cricketers have expressed interest in the sixth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) and registered themselves for the players’ draft. However, several of them are only partially available due to international commitments.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to host the upcoming season of PSL from February 20 to March 22 while the players draft is scheduled to be held on January 10th.

Unfortunately, various international tours are clashing with PSL’s fixtures this time; Sri Lanka’s series with West Indies, Bangladesh series with New Zealand, England’s series with India and Afghanistan’s series with Zimbabwe are the tours that may restrict full participation of some top cricketers.

While PCB has already released a 25-player list of platinum category, it is understood that the final list of players in different categories is over 400.

A reliable source has informed Geo Super that over 90 players from Caribbean Islands, 80 from England and Wales, over 40 cricketers from Sri Lanka, around 30 from South Africa and Afghanistan each, 20 from Bangladesh, 14 from Australia and 8 from New Zealand have registered themselves in the league’s players’ draft this season.

With the event just couple of days away, the main concern for teams’ think tank is players’ availability due to packed international season and limited travel options due to COVID-19.

It is understood that international commitment is one reason why a top player like Pollard was missing from the platinum players’ initial list. He is, however, likely to be available for last one week of the league – if required, once he’s free from West Indies series against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s tour to West Indies, if goes ahead, will also likely put a question mark on full availability of Thisara Perera and Isuru Udana. Other Sri Lankan players, who have registered themselves for Diamond and below categories, are also likely to face the same problem.

Read: PSL 2021 draft: Chris Gayle, Rashid Khan, Dale Steyn placed in Platinum category

Sources have confirmed that at least 9 players including Seekkuge Prasanna, Niroshan Dickwella, Nuwan Pradeep, Dinesh Chandimal, Oshada Fernando, Suranga Lakmal and Lahiru Thirimanne are registered in the list of Diamond category players.

Other platinum players who may not be fully available include England’s Moeen Ali, who is likely to be occupied with England’s tour to India starting in February. The same series will also affect the participation of Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan for the league.

Availability of Afghanistan’s Platinum trio – Rashid Khan, Mujeeb ur Rehman and Mohammad Nabi is also linked with future of Afghanistan’s series against Zimbabwe. Meanwhile Hazratullah Zazai, Qais Ahmed and Zahir Khan from the country are in diamond category players list but only Zazai is likely to receive a call by the national team for the series.

Proteas batsman Rassie van der Dussen’s availability also depends on Australia’s tour to South Africa for three Tests which is scheduled to be played in February. Dussen was named in platinum category of players.

Bangladesh cricketers, including platinum player Mustafeezur Rehman, will participate accordingly with team’s tour to New Zealand that starts from March 12. However, the NZ government’s quarantine rule means the cricketers will have to arrive in New Zealand not later than third week of February.

Meanwhile players who are likely to be available full season include Imran Tahir, Rilee Rossouw, Alex Hales, David Miller, Morne Morkel, Chris Gayle, Colin Ingram, Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Sandeep Lamichhane and Dale Steyn.

The sources also revealed the names of other diamond category players including James Faulkner, Dan Christian, Ben Cutting, Fawad Ahmed, Tim Bresnen, Joe Denly, Liam Plunkett, Chris Green, Andile Phelukwayo, Tabraiz Shamsi, Luke Wright, Dinesh Ramdin, Andre Fletcher and Brendon Taylor.

While Gulbadin Naib, Laurie Evans, Saqib Mehmood, Liam Livingstone, Kevin O Brain, Kyle Abbott, Cameron Delport, Samit Patel, Ravi Bopara, Upul Tharanga, Devendra Bishoo, Ashley Nurse and Sikandar Raza Butt are named in Gold category for the upcoming PSL players draft.

Read: PSL 2021: Players draft to take place on January 9

PSL 2021: Most overseas players only partially available this season