- Peshawar Zalmi get first supplementary round pick.
- Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik move to Karachi Kings.
- Lahore Qalandars retain Shaheen Afridi and Rashid Khan.
LAHORE: Pakistan all-format captain and the most successful batter in the history of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Babar Azam, will don Peshawar Zalmi colours in the eighth edition of the PSL.
With 2,413 runs under his belt in 68 matches, the prolific right-hander is the all-time highest scorer of PSL.
Babar represented Islamabad United in the inaugural edition of the PSL. Before PSL 2017 players’ draft, Babar was moved to Kings. Since then, he represented the Kings in six PSL editions and also captained the franchise this year.
The tournament will run from February 9 to March 19 next year and will be played at four venues — Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan.
In one of the biggest trades of the tournament, 2017 champions Zalmi snapped Babar in the Platinum category and the first pick in the supplementary round for Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik who move to Karachi Kings, the winners of the 2020 edition, in Platinum and Diamond categories, respectively, before the trade and retention window closed on Friday evening.
During the trade and retention window, a side can assemble up to eight players before the PSL Player Draft, in which it can increase the squad side to 18 players — three each in Platinum, Diamond and Gold categories, five Silver, two Emerging and up to two Supplementary categories.
Babar, who was at Islamabad United before moving to Karachi Kings, is the only player in the Platinum category for Peshawar Zalmi.
Wahab Riaz and Sherfane Rutherford are in Diamond, while Mohammad Haris, who has lightened up the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup with his fearless batting, is in Gold.
Zalmi are the only side to retain seven players.
Haider is Karachi’s only player in the platinum category, while Shoaib joins Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir in the Diamond.
They have retained Sharjeel Khan, Mir Hamza and Aamir Yamin in the Silver category and Qasim Akram in the Emerging.
Lahore Qalandars, the defending champions, have kept retained Shaheen Afridi, their captain, and Rashid Khan in the Platinum category. All-rounder David Wiese stays in the Diamond category. While Lahore have retained seven players, they will announce their eighth retention in due course.
Multan Sultans, the winners of the 2021 edition and the finalists in the last one, have retained middle-order batters Khushdil Shah and Rilee Rossouw in the Diamond category and Tim David in Gold.
Their captain Mohammad Rizwan, the highest run-getter in T20Is since the beginning of 2021 and the player of PSL 2021, is their only retention in the Platinum.
Fast bowler Shahnawaz Dahani, named Multan Sultans’ Brand Ambassador, joins David in the Gold category.
Islamabad United, the winners of the inaugural and third editions in 2016 and 2018, have retained their captain Shadab in the Platinum category. They have kept two players in the Diamond with Asif Ali being named as the Brand Ambassador and Mohammad Wasim Jnr. Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali will continue with United in Gold.
Quetta Gladiators have retained Mohammad Nawaz, who has been with them since the inaugural edition, in the Platinum.
Jason Roy and Iftikhar Ahmed are retained in Diamond category. Their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mohammad Hasnain (Brand Ambassador) are in the Gold category.
As it was last year, each of the six sides will have the Right to Match Card that will allow them to pick any player released from their roster during the draft.
The details of PSL Player Draft 2023 will be announced in due course.
Complete list of retained players
Islamabad United: Shadab Khan (Platinum). Asif Ali (Brand Ambassador) and Mohammad Wasim Jnr (Diamond). Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali (Gold). Colin Munro and Paul Stirling (Silver).
Karachi Kings: Haider Ali (Platinum). Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik (Diamond). Aamir Yamin, Mir Hamza and Sharjeel Khan (Silver). Qasim Akram (Emerging)
Lahore Qalandars: Rashid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi (Platinum). David Wiese (Diamond). Abdullah Shafique (Gold). Harry Brook and Kamran Ghulam (Silver). Zaman Khan (Emerging). Eighth retention to be announced in due course.
Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan (Platinum). Khushdil Shah, Rilee Rossouw and Shan Masood (Diamond). Shahnawaz Dahani (Brand Ambassador) and Tim David (Gold). Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah (Emerging).
Peshawar Zalmi: Babar Azam (Platinum). Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz (Diamond). Mohammad Haris (Gold). Aamir Jamal (Brand Ambassador), Salman Irshad and Tom-Kohler Cadmore (Silver).
Quetta Gladiators: Mohammad Nawaz (Platinum). Iftikhar Ahmed and Jason Roy (Diamond). Mohammad Hasnain and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Gold). Naveen ul Haq, Umar Akmal (Mentor) and Will Smeed (Silver)
Meanwhile, leading T20 cricketers from around the globe have registered themselves for the PSL Player Draft 2023. Four hundred and ninety-three players, of which 29 are in the Platinum category and 81 in Diamond (names below), from both full member and associate nations, have made themselves available for the player draft.
The maximum number of foreign players to register are from England (140). The next on the list — from full members — are Sri Lanka (60), Afghanistan (43), West Indies (38), Bangladesh (28), South Africa (25), Australia (14), Zimbabwe (11) and Ireland (nine).
Foreign players registered in the top two categories.
Platinum — Aaron Finch, Adil Rashid, Akeal Hosein, Alex Hales, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Colin De Grandhomme, Dasun Shanaka, David Miller, Dawid Malan, Evin Lewis, Jimmy Neesham, Lungi Ngidi, Martin Guptill, Moeen Ali, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rehman, Nicholas Pooran, Odean Smith, Rahkeem Cornwall, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rashid Khan, Rassie van der Dussen, Reece Topley, Saqib Mahmood, Shakib Al Hasan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Tom Curran, Tymal Mills and Wanindu Hasaranga De Silva
Diamond — Adam Hose, Andre Fletcher, Andrew Tye, Angelo Mathews, Avishka Fernando, Bas de Leede, Ben Mike, Benjamin Cutting, Bjorn Fortuin, Brandon King, Cameron Delport, Carlos Brathwaite, Chadwick Walton, Charith Asalanka, Craig Overton, Daniel Sams, Daniel Worrall, David Wiese, Dominic Drakes, Dushmantha Chameera, Dwaine Pretorius, Evan Jones, Fabian Allen, Fazalhaq Farooqi, George Dockrell, Gulbadin Naib, Hayden Walsh, Hazratullah Zazai, Imran Tahir, Jacques Snyman, James Bracey, James Fuller, James Vince, Jamie Overton, Janneman Malan, Jason Roy, Johnson Charles, Josh Little, Keemo Paul, Kevin Sinclair, Kieran Powell, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Laurie Evans, Lendl Simmons, Lewis Gregory, Lewis McManus, Liam Dawson, Liam Norwell, Luke Wood, Maheesh Theekshana, Mahmudullah Riyad, Marchant De Lange, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Michael Rippon, Migael Pretorius, Mushfiqur Rahim, Najibullah Zadran, Nkrumah Bonner, Ollie Pope, Olly Stone, Oshane Thomas, Patum Nissanka , Paul Walter, Qais Ahmad, Rehan Ahmed, Richard Gleeson, Rilee Rossouw, Roelof van der Merwe, Roston Chase, Ryan Gibson, Shai Hope, Shane Dadswell, Sherfane Rutherford, Sikandar Raza, Tamim Iqbal, Taskin Ahmed, Thisara Perera, Thomas Kaber Phillip, Wayne Parnell and Will Jacks
What’s Sania Mirza searching for out in the desert?
Indian tennis ace Sania Mirza regularly posts on social media to keep her fans engaged. Her posts range from professional to personal life updates.
In her latest post on the photo-cum-video sharing platform Instagram, the tennis star uploaded a photo, wherein she can be seen barefoot in the desert.
The photo was taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where Sania lives with her five-year-old Izhaan Mirza Malik, while her husband, Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik, visits intermittently to meet his family.
In her Instagram post, there seems to be a hidden message. It read: “What you are looking for isn’t out there. It’s in you.” The caption also ended with a brown heart — which might be because she found the desert to be calm.
Mirza always styles herself perfectly, and even while barefoot in the desert, she is dressed elegantly.
The tennis ace was wearing a grey long dress, complimented with golden earrings and a set of three bracelets.
Fans were also impressed with her elegance and style, with one writing: “She is definitely one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.”
Another wrote: “Your remarkable grace and strength truly resonate worldwide.”
“Wow so sweet and beautiful look […] You are my favourite tennis player Sania,” another Instagram user commented on the post.
The post has so far garnered more than 85,00 likes and 683 comments.
Sania is not only famed in India but in Pakistan as well due to her marriage with former Pakistan cricket team captain Malik. The couple tied the knot in 2010, and share a 5-year-old son, Izhaan.
Controversy surrounded their relationship after divorce rumours surfaced last year. However, neither Sania nor Shoaib have openly confirmed or denied the reports of their separation or divorce as yet.
Pakistan gear up for historic clash against Saudi Arabia
AL-AHSA, SAUDI ARABIA: In a first, Pakistan will today take on Saudi Arabia in the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for the first time in its footballing history, reported The News on Thursday.
The historic game will be played at the Al-Fateh Stadium at 7:30 pm local time.
Pakistan and Saudi Arabia last played against each other in 1978 at the latter’s home which the Green Shirts were humiliated 6-0.
Jordan and Tajikistan are the other teams in Pakistan’s group.
These four teams will play against each other home and away, the top two nations will progress to the third round while the last two teams qualify for the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup Qualifiers. Being a host country of the 2027 Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia have already qualified for the continent’s major showpiece event.
Pakistan team since its arrival in Saudi Arabi on November 11 has held six training sessions at the Al-Fateh Stadium’s reserve venue. They were joined by their foreign-based players who came in two different groups.
England-based winger Imran Kayani had joined the team in Islamabad and was part of all the training sessions held in the federal capital under English coach Stephen Constantine. The Whitehawk FC player is likely to make his international debut today.
According to team sources, overseas players Harun Hamid, Yousuf Butt, Abdullah Iqbal and Abdul Samad arrived in Saudi Arabia two days ago while Otis Khan and Rahis Nabi checked in at the hotel on Tuesday.
Coach Constantine on Wednesday said that they expect a tough match against the hosts.
“There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia are a tough side and we will try to make our best effort against them,” he said during a pre-match news conference at the Al-Fateh Sports Club.
He said that the time was short for preparation but whatever time they had at their disposal they tried to prepare well.
“We had a few good days here and a week at Islamabad and hopefully we will put in our best,” Stephen said.
He said that Pakistan will badly miss their defender Easah Suliman who has been ruled out for a few weeks due to an injury which he developed while playing in the Azerbaijan league. Constantine refused to disclose who will lead the side.
“When one is down the other comes to take his place,” he said.
The coach sees the game as a big opportunity for Pakistani players to attract foreign scouts.
“They have to play well and when they do well then definitely they may get offers from professional clubs but it’s a great honour to represent one’s country first,” Constantine said.
The second round matches will be held in three phases with the second phase and third phase to be held in March and June respectively.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia have injury woes of their own as Al-Hilal’s winger Salem Al-Dawsari was ruled out of both the games against Pakistan and Jordan due to an ankle injury.
Saudi Arabia’s Italian coach Roberto Mancini said that his team is ready for the show.
“It’s a first official game for us in the Qualifiers. We are ready and you know the first game is always difficult,” Mancini told the news conference.
“I think it is time to put youngsters in the team for the future because we saw many players in three months. And we believe that we have a good young players for the future and it’s important to give them a chance in the important game,” Mancini said.
“My target is to try to play good football. we started well but we played against tough teams and in future this team will progress well,” he said. Since taking charge as Saudi Arabia’s head coach last August his charges have lost three matches of the four they have played. He said that Saudi Arabia will not take Pakistan lightly.
Goalkeepers: Yousuf Butt, Salman-Ul-Haq, Hassan Ali
Defenders: Abdullah Iqbal, Haseeb Khan, Mamoon Moosa Khan, Mohibullah, Muhammad Sohail, Muhammad Saddam, Junaid Shah, Rao Umar Hayat, Muhammad Hamza Munir
Midfielders: Rahis Nabi, Alamgir Ghazi, Rajab Ali, Ali Uzair, Imran Kiyani, Harun Hamid
Forwards: Shayak Dost, Otis Khan, Fareed Ullah, Abdul Samad Arshad, Muhammad Waleed Khan, Adeel Younas
Officials: Stephen Constantine (head coach), Rogerio Ramos (goalkeeper coach), Claudio Altieri (performance coach), Muhammad Ali Khan (manager), Azam Khan (doctor), Muhammad Abdullah (physio), Haider Ali (media), Abdul Qayyum (masseur).
Pakistan squad for World Cup 2023 announced
- Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq unveiled squad.
- Hasan Ali replaces injured Naseem Shah.
- Pakistan enter mega-event as number one ranked side.
LAHORE: In a much-awaited announcement, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has finally revealed the 15-member squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2023.
The announcement of Pakistan’s squad faced unexpected delays as the team management held consultations following a humiliating exit from the Asia Cup and the injuries faced by major bowlers during the tournament.
Chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq unveiled the squad at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
Babar Azam will captain the team, while Shadab Khan remains the team’s vice-captain. Hasan Ali has been called in to replace pacer Naseem Shah — who has been ruled out from the tournament due to his shoulder injury.
Ali, however, will be returning to one-day international (ODI) cricket after a year-long hiatus following his last appearance against West Indies in Multan in 2022.
“We were forced to make one change because of an unfortunate injury to Naseem Shah. We had a few injury scares in the recent Asia Cup, but I am glad to share that all the players are fully fit and are eager to perform for their country in the all-important tournament. I have received encouraging reports from our medical panel about Haris Rauf. He has started to (shadow) bowl at the National Cricket Academy and will be available for selection,” said Inzamam while speaking during a press conference today.
“I have a firm belief that this squad can bring the World Cup trophy to Pakistan and make the whole nation proud with their incredible performances. It is time to get behind our team and provide them with the backing and support that they need.”
Babar Azam’s side enters the mega-event as the number one ranked side and enjoys the best win/loss ratio of 2.4 in this World Cup cycle for any side that has played the ODI format.
The ICC World Cup 2023 will take place in India with 10 teams fighting for the elusive title across 10 venues from October 5 to November 19, with the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad hosting the tournament opener and the final.
The Cricket World Cup will be played in a round-robin format, with all teams playing against each other for a total of 45 league matches.
The top four teams will qualify for the semifinals, which will be held in Mumbai on November 15 and in Kolkata on November 16. The semi-finals and the final will have reserve days.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafiq, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), M Wasim Jnr, Saud Shakeel, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir.
Mohammad Haris, Zaman Khan, Abrar Ahmed.
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