Lights, camera, action. The second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to explode into action from February 9 in Dubai. Its final will be played at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, on March 7.
PCB has also decided that if overseas players are unwilling to travel to the country due to security concerns, local players will replace them.
For the second edition, the number of matches has been increased from 16 to 18. Each of the five teams — Karachi Kings, Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars — will play eight games in the round robin stage and the top four sides will qualify for the playoffs.
Each team consists of 16 players, including five foreign players and at least two emerging players.
The inaugural match is to be played between Peshawar Zalmi and defending champions Islamabad United on February 9.
Five teams participated in the inaugural edition. After the successful launch of PSL, Najam Sethi proposed to add a sixth team in the second edition with the name Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), but most franchises rejected this proposal despite Sethi’s promise of an increase in profit share. Only Peshawar Zalmi welcomed the idea.
Franchise owners reminded the PCB that according to the contract signed between them and the PCB, no team can be added until the third edition.
PSL’s first edition, held in February 2016, generated a profit of $2.47 million. The PCB distributed 70 percent of the profit among the five franchises.
The second edition of PSL will be important for Misbah-ul-Haq as he has decided to use Pakistan Super League as an opportunity to assess his own performance and decide when to retire from international cricket.
“I think in this one month I will make my decision to quit or at least give a certain date. I could easily have quit after England series in the UAE in November 2015 but that wasn’t the right way,” he says.
Misbah will again lead the last year champions Islamabad United. Darren Sammy is the captain for Peshawar Zalmi in place of Shahid Afridi.
Sarfraz Ahmed leads last year’s runners-up Quetta Gladiators. Kumar Sangakkara leads the Karachi Kings in place of Shoaib Malik and Brendon McCullum will be the captain of Lahore Qalandars.
Every PSL team consists of 15 players. There are five supplement players who can fill in only if a local player becomes unavailable.
Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars made changes in their squads while Karachi Kings and Islamabad United made none.
Lahore Qalandars inducted Jason Roy, Chris Green and James Franklin in place of Dwayne Bravo, Shaun Tait and Anton Devcich.
Peshawar Zalmi brought in Marlon Samuels, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Samit Patel and Andre Fletcher and left out Alex Hales, Shakib al Hasan and Mohammad Shahzad.
Quetta Gladiators dropped Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, David Willey and Mohammad Nabi and included Nathan McCullum, Thisara Perera, Rilee Rossouw and Mahmudullah Riad.
Umar Akmal of Lahore Qalandars topped the first IPL run chart with 335 runs in seven matches at a strike rate of 157.27, averaging 83.75. He scored four half centuries in seven matches, including three unbeaten fifties in a row.
On the bowling side, Islamabad’s Andre Russell took the most wickets, 16 at 17.25.