Quetta Gladiators picked Sussex’s rising sensation Jofra Archer as a replacement for allrounder Carlos Brathwaite who will miss the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and will instead play for West Indies in the World Cup qualifiers in March. Archer’s Sussex team-mate Tymal Mills was roped in by Karachi Kings in place of former Australia quick Mitchell Johnson, who had pulled out of the tournament, citing personal reasons.
In a replacement draft held in Lahore on Monday, all six franchises tweaked their roster, replacing players unavailable for various reasons ahead of the third edition of the league, scheduled to be played from February 22. Only five players who had been originally drafted in will miss the tournament in its entirety – Johnson, Brathwaite, Luke Wright, Angelo Mathews and Colin Munro. The other replacement players have been brought in as cover for players who are partially available.
Two days after being picked up by Rajasthan Royals for USD 1.125 million in the IPL auction, Archer grabbed the spotlight again. A 22-year old allrounder from Barbados who plies his trade at Sussex, Archer extended his county form into the Bangladesh Premier League and then the Big Bash League. He claimed a double-wicket maiden on BBL debut for Hobart Hurricanes and continued to impress with his rapid pace. In addition, he has a strike-rate of 143.93 with the bat, which makes him an exciting prospect.
England opener Luke Wright, meanwhile, pulled out of the PSL because of fitness concerns. Wright had played for Quetta in the first two seasons, before being selected by Karachi this season. They replaced him with another England opener in Joe Denly who was the top scorer in the Natwest T20 Blast in 2017 and later went on to play for Dhaka Dynamites in the BPL and the Hurricanes in the BBL.
“Sadly I’ve had to pull out of the PSL this year,” Wright tweeted. “I’ve been carrying niggles all winter and they aren’t getting better so, to be fair to both Karachi Kings and Sussex, I respectfully have to miss it. Great tournament. Hope to play in it next year.”
SLC denied a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to Mathews, forcing Lahore Qalandars to pick New Zealand’s Anton Devcich instead. Lahore also drafted in West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Denesh Ramdin to replace Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman, who will be available for a few games before joining the Bangladesh side. Islamabad United brought in Sri Lanka allrounder Asela Gunaratne, England quick Steven Finn and West Indies batsman Chadwick Walton to replace JP Duminy, David Willey and Alex Hales.
“We brought in an extra keeper (Ramdin) as back up for Umar Akmal, in case we want to play Umar as batsman only,” a Lahore Qalandars spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “We had originally picked Mitchell McClenaghan to fill in for Mustafizur’s absence, so we have an extra fast bowler if we need one.”
Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan – who are both part of defending champions Peshawar Zalmi’s squad – will also only be available for the first four games of the tournament. They will then join the national team for a tri-series that also involves Sri Lanka and India. Quetta’s Mahmudullah, also unavailable for the same reason, was replaced by Australia fast bowler John Hastings. Peshawar also brought in Dwayne Smith and Liam Dawson as cover.