Majority of the overseas players of Karachi Kings, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi have agreed to visit Pakistan for the playoffs of the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Pakistan is all set to host three PSL games: two eliminators in Lahore on March 20 and 21, and the final in Karachi on March 25.
Defending champions Peshawar Zalmi will have a near full-strength squad travelling to Pakistan for the knockout games.
“Just like last year, this year too all our foreign players will travel to Pakistan for PSL playoffs,” confirmed Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi.
However, it has now emerged that Dwayne Smith will not be travelling to Pakistan due to family commitments. Bangladesh’s all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is being included in the squad in his place.
Zalmi also had a full strength squad for the PSL final in Lahore last year, where the team won the trophy after beating a depleted Quetta Gladiators.
An official of Karachi Kings confirmed that at least five of the players have expressed their consent to visit Pakistan.
“Karachi Kings foreign players Joe Denly, Tymal Mills, Colin Ingram, Lendl Simmons and David Weisse are all ready to travel to Pakistan for the playoffs,” the team spokesman said.
Another player of Karachi Kings, Ravi Bopara, has already announced earlier that he would visit Pakistan for PSL matches.
However, Karachi Kings will not have Eoin Morgan available for the Pakistan leg of the matches. The England captain said earlier he won’t travel to Pakistan due to family reasons.
There has been no official word yet from Islamabad United, but team sources have confirmed that at least five of the players are coming to Pakistan.
“Most of Islamabad United’s foreign players will come to Pakistan, while a couple of others will make a call on Saturday after meeting security experts,” said a source.
Three Islamabad United players – Samit Patel, JP Duminy and Luke Ronchi – have already confirmed earlier that they will travel to Pakistan.
West Indian batsman Chadwick Walton and spinner Samuel Badree have also agreed to visit Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the franchise is hopeful that England’s Sam Billings and Steven Finn will also give a positive response.
Just like last year, Quetta Gladiators are again running the risk of a depleted squad as most of their overseas players are unwilling to visit Pakis-tan.
England opener Jason Roy, star batsman Kevin Pietersen, Australian veteran Shane Watson and all-rounder Ben Laughlin have expressed unwillingness to visit Pakistan for the knockout games.
On the positive side, Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera and Chris Green of Australia will join Quetta Gladiators squad in Lahore on March 19 for the eliminators.
Perera, who was also part of the World XI squad which toured Pakistan last year, was initially picked by Multan Sultans but did not play a single match. He has subsequently been permitted to represent Quetta Gladiators in the playoffs.
Yorkshire’s Tom Kohler-Cadmore will also join the Gladiators squad for the playoffs.
West Indian batsman Johnson Charles has also been picked by Quetta for the latter stages of the tournament.
The franchise is hopeful that Mahmudullah of Bangladesh will be available for the playoffs once he is free from national duty on March 18.
South African star Rilee Rossouw may also travel to Pakistan.—APP