Shahid Afridi is transferred to Quetta Gladiators; Azam Khan joins Islamabad United

Shahid Afridi

The Multan Sultans have transferred Shahid Afridi and James Vince to the Quetta Gladiators in return for a Diamond and Silver selection in the 2018 Pakistan Super League (PSL) draft. In another transaction, the Gladiators transferred wicketkeeper-batsman Azam Khan to Islamabad United in exchange for the services of Iftikhar Ahmed, who has joined the team. These is some major cricket news for the fans of the game.

Afridi made the following statement after signing with his fourth PSL franchise: “Quetta Gladiators, although winning the championship in 2019, have had a roller-coaster ride in the last few events, and I am looking forward to being a part of their success. After experiencing success with Peshawar Zalmi in 2017, it would be my hope and desire to sign out with another PSL title in my last PSL cricket match. The PSL is an event that promotes and stimulates players to perform at their highest level. I want to employ the same level of drive to assist my team and put out performances that will aid us in achieving our event goals.”

The latest update on the chances made by the PSL teams that could have an impact

For the upcoming edition, the PSL management has also reorganised the categories for some players ahead of the draft, most notably moving Mohammad Rizwan from Silver, the third-most valuable type, to Platinum, the most valuable class. Rizwan captained Sultans to the title last year and promoted Silver to Platinum. Both Asif Ali, a United batsman, and Haris Rauf, a Lahore Qalandars spinner, have earned their spots in the Platinum category. The PCB decided on the categories for this year’s competition. In past seasons, the six teams would divide players into groups.

United had a difficult option in deciding to part ways with Iftikhar. This was since they were permitted to have a maximum of two local players in each of the Platinum and Diamond categories. Since they now had Shadab Khan and Asif in Platinum, they had to leave Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, or Iftikhar out of the picture. They substituted Azam for the original in the Gold category.

“It was a tough choice to leave Islamabad United, but when I looked forward to my future in Twenty20 cricket, which is tied to the Pakistan squad, I felt it was the right option. It was a difficult decision to leave Islamabad United,” Iftikhar said.

“I am thankful to the Islamabad United management for their understanding and support throughout my career, and I am certain that they will continue to back me in all of my choices. I am happy to be reuniting with Shahid Afridi at Quetta Gladiators following our previous outing together in the HBL Pakistan Super League in 2017. The Quetta Gladiators are made up of a few of my contemporaries with whom I’ve spent a lot of time playing cricket,” he stated.

The seventh season of the Pakistan Super League will begin on January 27 of the following year, with a pre-tournament draft taking place on December 12. As a result of Australia’s planned tour of Pakistan in March-April, the league will begin a month sooner than normal and finish a month later than usual on February 27.

What next for the upcoming edition of the PSL; which team will have the advantage going into the tournament?

Every team is permitted to keep up to eight players from their previous squad while also selecting eight players in the draft. It has not been considered the players chosen as substitutes for the Abu Dhabi leg of PSL 6 in the initial roster. In addition, each club is allowed to select two extra players in the supplemental round.

For the Pakistan Super League, there will be just two venues: the National Stadium in Karachi, which will host the first 15 matches, and the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, which will hold all subsequent games – including the championship match.

The deadline for PSL swaps expired on Thursday, with only United, Gladiators, and Sultans taking advantage of the opportunity to exchange their tickets. Teams must now decide on their retentions – a total of eight players per team – by 4 p.m. Pakistan time on Friday.