The Pakistan Super League (PSL) announced on Thursday that its five franchises will pick from a pool of 308 players from Pakistan and abroad in a draft, to be held on December 21 and 22.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has chosen a draft system rather than an auction to “ensure a level-playing field as each team will have to choose a certain number of players from each category”.
The pool has been divided into five categories: Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver and Emerging. A draft system, the board said, ensures that top players are spread across the five franchises and that “each team will spend an equal amount on drafting players”.
“Each team will be required to pick three players per category from each of the top three categories,” a board statement said. “While drafting two Emerging players will be mandatory, a team will be able to pick up to five players from the Silver category to complete the squad. Each team will have a minimum of four foreign players in the side.”
The availability of several players, should they be picked, might be limited, however, due to a scheduling clash with the Masters Champions League (MCL), with which the PSL will overlap for nine days: the PSL runs from February 4-23, while the MCL takes place from January 28-February 13. Both tournaments take place in the UAE.
As the PSL released its list of players in the pool – 137 from Pakistan and 171 foreign players – it emerged that there are nearly 20 players in the PSL pool who were also bought by the six franchises of the MCL in an auction in Dubai on Monday, where nearly US$4.2 million (Dh15.4m) was spent on acquiring 93 players.
But the PCB made clear that MCL commitments, which in most cases pre-date those with the PSL, will be allowed to be completed before they join the PSL. “Some leading players who have signed up for other commitments will be available only for a portion of the Pakistan Super League,” it said.
Given that the PSL has only announced a draft pool so far, it is not necessary that those players who are tied up with the MCL will definitely be purchased by a PSL franchise in the first place.
Indeed, players signed up with the MCL may not prove as attractive an option for PSL franchises, given they may not be able to utilise their services to the fullest extent.
The overlap means that an early exit in the MCL could free up a player to be available for nearly 15 days of the PSL; a run to the MCL finals will allow a player nine days of the PSL.
One official, affiliated with the PSL, foresees ultimately a maximum of six players participating in the PSL who also have an MCL commitment.
Kumar Sangakkara is almost certain to be one; he is in the PSL pool in the Platinum category, which has the most desirable players, and is also a Legend player with Gemini Arabians in the MCL.
Mahela Jayawardene and Brett Lee, longer retired from international cricket, are also in the Platinum category and signed on with an MCL franchise.
Other younger players such as the West Indian Krishmar Santokie, 30, and South African Richard Levi, 27, may also find a place in the PSL, as well as playing in the MCL.
One player who The National spoke to at the MCL auction and is in the PSL draft pool, pointed out that MCL rules allowed for players to be playing in other domestic leagues around the world.
“It is a clash of dates but if some franchise wants me I will be here in the UAE, I will be playing here. Let’s see.”
The two leagues clashed initially because they both wanted to stage their first editions at around the same time. The PSL even briefly considered relocating to Qatar before a compromise was worked out which saw the MCL move its starting date a little earlier, to the last week of January.
The two will play their games at the same stadiums though, in Dubai and Sharjah.
1. Kumar Sangakkara
2. Mahela Jayawardene
3. Brett Lee
4. Michael Carberry
5. Azhar Mahmood
6. Brad Hogg
7. Shaun Tait
8. James Franklin
9. Richard Levi
10. Johan Botha
11. Robin Peterson
12. Paul Collingwood
13. Owais Shah
14. Neil McKenzie
15. Brendan Taylor
16. Sean Ervine
17. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
18. Krishmar Santokie
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