The first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has attracted some leading T20 players from around the world; according to the information made available by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials, four West Indian and two Sri Lankan T20 specialists have expressed interest in the inaugural event, set to take place in Doha in February 2016.
The West Indian quartet of Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree are among the most sought-after T20 players and feature in various leagues around the world. After their expression of interest, the four are almost certain to dazzle in Doha as well.
On the other hand, Sri Lanka’s dashing opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan — who was named man of the tournament in the 2009 World Twenty20 — and all-rounder Thisara Perera are also in the fray.
New Zealanders Grant Elliot and James Franklin have also given their consent, while veteran Australian batsman Brad Hodge and Englishmen Tim Bresnan and Michael Carberry are also in the long list of players likely to ply their trade in the league.
South Africa’s hard-hitting opening batsman Richard Levi, who represented Nottinghamshire in the recently concluded T20 Blast in England is also expected to be one of the most sought-after players by the franchises.
The other Proteas player to give the green signal for now is left-arm spinner Robin Peterson.
The players finding a spot in the initial list have been bracketed in the top two categories (Platinum and Diamond).
The PCB is hoping to rope in some mega stars to add further glitz to the opening edition of the PSL.
West Indian opener Chris Gayle — arguably the biggest draw in the shortest format — is still on the radar and a PCB official confirmed that talks were in progress with the Jamaican.
“We know the worth of the superstars in the circuit, Gayle is definitely a top-ranked player and we haven’t given up on anyone else yet either,” the official told The Express Tribune.
Other than Gayle, the South African duo of AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, Australia’s flamboyant opener David Warner and New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum are some of the stars that hold great value.
However, the international and domestic calendars of the teams from the southern hemisphere (Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) are packed in February next year.
The PCB — and specifically the PSL team — would possibly need to raise the stakes further for the leading players, especially during a demanding schedule.
Another big draw for the inaugural edition is ex-England batsman Kevin Pietersen. The Surrey batsman was released from national duty after the 5-0 whitewash in the last Ashes series in Australia 18 months ago.
Another official close to the matter revealed that Pietersen is also expected to make an appearance in the tournament. “We are confident of getting Pietersen; he obviously is another big name that can add a lot of value to the PSL,” he said. (The Express Tribune)