PSL 2018: Lowdown on teams and their star players in action in the UAE and Pakistan

Here is what you need to know about the make-up of the franchises, including their Pakistan and overseas players, in the upcoming third season of the annual Twenty20 competition

Pakistani bowler Hasan Ali (C) celebrates after taking the wicket of Sri Lankan cricket captain Thisara Perera (R) during the third and final T20 cricket match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on October 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI
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Peshawar Zalmi

2017 Champions

Captain Darren Sammy

Key Pakistanis

Hasan Ali Zalmi's 2017 glory was founded sizeably on the fact that Hasan still counted as an "emerging player", despite the fact he was well on his way to becoming one of the world's most potent limited-overs bowlers at the time.

Wahab Riaz Occasionally leaky, but he also a fine body of achievement behind him in recent times, too. He was one of the key bowlers on the winning team in both the PSL and the first T10 League in 2017.

Kamran Akmal Struck the only century of the 2017 PSL, and started 2018 in fine touch, too. Playing for Water and Power Development Authority in Pakistan domestic cricket, he scored a 50 over double-century in January.

Key overseas players

Shakib Al Hasan Recently restored to the Test captaincy of Bangladesh, Shakib is the world's No1 ranked all-rounder in both the game's longest format, and its shortest. Played for Karachi Kings in the 2016 PSL.

Dwayne Bravo Revealed in December he no longer sees a future for himself as an international player with West Indies. Which is a boon for the roadshow of T20 leagues. He will be debuting for Zalmi, after playing for Lahore in the past.

Chris Jordan The England fast-bowler is coveted by T20 franchises around the world for his death bowling, but it is his fielding which more often catches the eye. He has a back catalogue of outstanding catches.

Sharjah, 15, February, 2017:  Shane Watson (C) OF Islamabad United celebrates after dismissing  Asad Shafiq of Quetta Gladiators during the Pakistan Super League match  at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah . ( Satish Kumar / The National ) 
ID No: 51575
Section: Sports
Reporter: Paul Radley *** Local Caption ***  SK-PSL-15022017-05.jpg
Shane Watson, centre, will be an overseas player to watch out for. Satish Kumar / The National

Quetta Gladiators

2017 Runners up

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed

Key Pakistanis

Sarfraz Ahmed Looking to make it third time lucky, having captained Quetta to the first two PSL finals, before falling at the final hurdle each time, first in Dubai against Islamabad United, then last year against Peshawar in Lahore.

Anwar Ali In decent touch with both bat and ball in the T10 League in Sharjah in December, the all-rounder has been a mainstay of Quetta's consistently strong performances in the PSL's first two seasons.

Mohammed Nawaz The left-arm spinner has shuffled back down the pecking order when it comes to international recognition, but a good showing at the PSL would provide a reminder to the selectors.

Key overseas players

Rashid Khan The leg-spinner is arguably the outstanding slow-bowler in T20 cricket in the world – but was still a surprise pick for the PSL. He will only be there for a week before joining Afghanistan's World Cup qualifying effort in Zimbabwe.

Rilee Rossouw The broad-shouldered South African is one of the most brutal power-hitters in the game, as evidenced by the T10 League in Sharjah in December. His strike-rate of 238 in that tournament was the best of the leading batsmen.

Shane Watson A T20 globetrotter who played the first two seasons of PSL in the red of Islamabad United. Now he has swapped to the grey of Quetta, who are aiming to go one better than they did as runners-up the past two years.

Shahid Afridi, right, has long been one of Pakistan's limited-overs cricketers. Nigel Roddis / Getty Images
Shahid Afridi, right, has long been one of Pakistan's limited-overs cricketers. Nigel Roddis / Getty Images

Karachi Kings

2017 Third

Captain Imad Wasim

Key Pakistanis

Shahid Afridi The big transfer of the off-season, leaving Peshawar Zalmi for Karachi. In his dotage now, but a hat-trick in the T10 League in December shows he still has magic in his spinning fingers.

Mohammed Amir Another player to have had a high-profile hat-trick in short-format cricket in the UAE. The left-armer launched the PSL with three in three balls for Karachi on the opening weekend two years ago.

Babar Azam The second highest run-scorer in the 2017 PSL, after Peshawar's Kamran Akmal. His rate of return for runs is reliable, even if his strike-rate can be relatively sedate.

Key overseas players

Lendl Simmonds Another who is conspicuous by his presence in the PSL, rather than the West Indies' World Cup Qualifier side. Simmonds has plenty of T20 experience and has been a success in the Indian Premier League.

Ravi Bopara A long-term absentee from the international fold with England now, but part of the furniture at Karachi Kings. Maybe he can catch the eye of Eoin Morgan, England's limited-overs captain who is now a Karachi teammate.

Eoin Morgan Vastly experienced short-format batsman, who will be heading back to a place that hold fond recent memories. Morgan captained Kerala Kings to the first T10 League title in Sharjah in December.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 13:  England batsman Alex Hales hits a big six during the International Twenty20 match between New Zealand and England at Westpac Stadium on February 13, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Alex Hales was a hit in the T10 League in the UAE last year. Stu Forster / Getty Images

Islamabad United

2017 Fourth

Captain Misbah-ul-Haq

Key Pakistanis

Shadab Khan Debuted in the competition 12 months ago aged 18. By the end of it, Dean Jones, Islamabad's coach, was saying he was ready to play for Pakistan already. How right he was.

Faheem Ashraf The last time he played a T20 match in the UAE, he took a hat-trick, against Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi. The exciting national team allrounder has yet to play in the PSL.

Rumman Raees The left-arm pace bowler took the third most wickets, 12, in the 2017 tournament, behind Sohail Khan and Wahab Riaz, and at a miserly rate of 6.19 per over, too.

Key overseas players

Andre Russell The West Indian allrounder will end a one-year ban for a doping violation when he returns to cricket in the PSL. Time will tell whether he can recapture the form that made him one of T20 cricket's most wanted players.

Luke Ronchi Retired from international cricket last summer. Now the 36-year-old former New Zealand player is an explosive opening batsman for hire. Was in blockbusting form in the T10 League in Sharjah in December.

Alex Hales Another who caught the eye in the T10 League, following his enforced break from cricket due to disciplinary reasons in the UK. If he finds form, his free-wheeling top-order batting will be well-received in the PSL.

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 01:Yasir Shah of Pakistan bowls during Day Four of the First Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Sheikh Zayed stadium on October 1, 2017 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Yasir Shah will swap his Test whites to play some white ball cricket. Francois Nel / Getty Images

Lahore Qalandars

2017 Fifth

Captain Brendon McCullum

Key Pakistanis

Fakhar Zaman Perhaps the one great success story of the PSL to date. The left-handed opener was a nondescript former Navy serviceman when he was given his chance by Qalandars. Now he is a Champions Trophy-winning national hero.

Yasir Shah Given his eminence in the Test game, it is maybe a surprise Yasir is not regarded as more of a force in the shortest formats, seeing as there is such a premium on leg-spin. That said, it could help that he is under the radar.

Shaheen Afridi Only 17, so is well within the "emerging-player" remit, but the fast-bowler is already highly-regarded in Pakistan. He took eight for 39 in the second innings of his first-class debut in September.

Key overseas players

Chris Lynn He must be a very wealthy man thanks to his T20 prowess, but the Australian powerhouse has suffered a stop-start career because of injury. Back in alliance with Brendon McCullum, his like-minded captain from Brisbane Heat.

Sunil Narine Deemed surplus to requirements for West Indies for their World Cup Qualifier campaign, leaving him free to play a full PSL programme. West Indies' – and, fair to say, international cricket's loss – is the T20 travelling show's gain.

Mitch McClenaghan Opted to forego a contract with New Zealand to follow the riches on offer in the lucrative leagues around the world. The left-arm quick bowler is used to bowling high-stakes overs, as a seasoned IPL player.

Dubai, 25, February, 2017: Kieron Pollard and Immad Wasim of Karachi Kings celebrates after winning their match against Lahore Qalanders during the 2nd round of  the PSL match at the  Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai. ( Satish Kumar / The National ) 
ID No: 20630
Section: Sports
Reporter: Paul Radley *** Local Caption ***  SK-PSL-25022017-02.jpg
Kieron Pollard has chosen Pakistan Super League over World Cup Qualifier. Satish Kumar / The National

Multan Sultans

New team

Captain Shoaib Malik

Key Pakistanis

Sohail Tanvir It is nearly a decade now since the left-arm fast-bowler announced himself as one of T20 cricket's foremost players, at the 2008 Indian Premier League. His star may have waned somewhat since, but he remains a threat.

Ahmed Shahzad The opening batsman leading run-scorer in PSL history so far, with an aggregate of 539 runs from the first two seasons. He has left Quetta to join the new franchise.

Sohaib Maqsood Once touted as the new Inzamam-ul-Haq, Maqsood has been in the international cricket wilderness for the past two years. Multan-born, he should have plenty of home town support at the new franchise.

Key overseas players

Kieron Pollard Outspoken in his criticism of the West Indies board after they suggested he had picked PSL over representing his region in the World Cup Qualifier. Their loss is very definitely Multan's gain.

Imran Tahir The opening round of PSL matches will see the Pakistan-born South Africa leg-spinner return to Dubai International Stadium, where he took his best match-haul of wickets – eight – in a Test in 2013.

Nicholas Pooran First caught the eye playing for West Indies in the Under 19 World Cup in UAE in 2014, when he scored 143 out of 208 for his team in the quarter final against Australia. He also made his senior international debut in UAE.


Read more

PSL 2018: Lowdown on the tournament being played in the UAE and Pakistan

Hasan Ali star in the making with wicket-taking ability and unique celebration

PSL 2017 review: From Sammy’s captaincy to arrival of future Pakistan stars

Memorable moments in 2017: Sammy selfie and Sharjah’s broken signpost

Team of the tournament: Kamran, Pollard and Pietersen lit up the 2017 PSL