Pakistan announced a total of 308 top foreign and local players for drafting in its Twenty20 league on Thursday, with tainted but cleared Mohammad Amir and exiled former England batsman Kevin Pietersen among them.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will stage the first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) between February 4-23 after the sale of five teams for 93 million dollars (9.3 billion rupees) last week.
PCB said 171 foreign and 137 domestic players will be available for drafting by teams.
“Having successfully finalised the sale of commercial rights for franchises, broadcast, and title sponsorship, PSL is now entering the phase that many fans have long been waiting for,” said a PCB release.
“At the player draft event, the five franchise owners will gather to select their playing squads. By opting for a draft system in place of a player auction, PSL will ensure a level-playing field as each team will have to choose a certain number of players from each category,” said the PCB.
These players have been divided into five different categories – Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Emerging, the PCB added.
Mohammad Amir, whose five-year ban following a spot-fixing scandal tied to Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010 was lifted in September this year, is in the Gold category after showing good form in Pakistan’s domestic season and in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League.
The list also includes former England batsman Pieterson, Australian Shane Watson, big hitting West Indian Chris Gayle and Pakistan’s own Shahid Afridi.
The list also includes the name of express Australian paceman Brett Lee who retired in 2012 in the Platinum class.
“Each team will be required to pick three players per category from each of the top three categories (Platinum, Diamond, Gold),” said the PCB.
Teams are required to draft two emerging players as part of PCB’s plans to groom their players.
PCB said all five teams will be finalising their coaching panels next week.
Sharjah and Dubai will host PSL matches, designed along the lines of lucrative leagues in India and Australia.
Former Pakistan captain Ramiz Raja said PSL will change the fortunes of country’s cricket.
“We want to make this league as one of the best in Asia and it will help players financially,” Raja, also an ambassador for the PSL, told media in Lahore.
Raja, however, opposed Amir’s inclusion.
“If I was in power I would not have included Amir,” said Raja. “He stained (the) country’s image.”