Australian allrounder Shane Watson and former Test and ODI wicketkeeper Brad Haddin have been picked by Islamabad United on the opening day of the Pakistan Super League draft, held in Lahore on Monday.
The Aussie duo, currently playing in the KFC Big Bash League, will join forces for the Islamabad franchise in the first edition of Pakistan’s T20 league, scheduled to take place in the UAE from February 4 to 23.
Watson was picked from the top 'Icon' category of players, which has price tag of 200,000 USD, whereas Haddin was selected from the Diamond category (70,000 USD). Haddin was originally placed in the Platinum category (140,000 USD) but slipped to Diamond after going unpicked in the first three rounds.
Islamabad United will be coached by former Australia Test and ODI batsman Dean Jones, while Pakistan’s legendary bowler Wasim Akram will be their team director.
— Shane Watson (@ShaneRWatson33) December 21, 2015
Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was not picked up, mainly due to his commitment with the Masters Champions League (MCL) in Feburary, while the other Australians who went unsold are also involved in the MCL; Brad Hodge, Brad Hogg, Shaun Tait and Ben Laughlin.
Quick Single: Legends sign up for MCL
The first pick of the draft on Monday was no surprise, with Pakistan’s T20 captain Shahid Afridi snapped up by Peshawar Zalmi, who had traded their pick with Islamabad before the draft in bid to get the big-hitting allrounder. Another Pakistan allrounder and former captain Shoaib Malik was bagged by Karachi Kings as an Icon player.
The remaining two Icon players picked up were Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle, who will play for Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars respectively.
— Umar Akmal (@Umar96Akmal) December 21, 2015
In some other marquee signings, Peshawar bagged former World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy, Karachi picked up Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, Islamabad pocketed the IPL 2015’s player of the tournament Andre Russell and Lahore Qalandars went for IPL 2015’s leading wickettaker Dwyane Bravo.
Dean Jones will coach Watson and Haddin at Islamabad // cricket.com.au
Ten of the players picked up on the opening day are currently playing the in Big Bash League in Australia.
The returning fast bowler Mohammad Aamir, who was in the Golden Catgeory (50,000 USD), was picked by Karachi as soon as he became available.
None of the Sri Lankans were picked from the draft as most of them will only be available for part of the tournament; Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have signed with the MCL and will be unavailable until February 14, while current players like Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera will be on international assignment in India.
— cricket.com.au (@CricketAus) December 21, 2015
The other notable players not picked up were Pakistan’s World T20 winning captain Younis Khan, off-spinner Saeed Ajmal, England duo James Anderson and Ian Bell and Kiwi opener Jesse Ryder.
Afridi (Peshawar), Malik (Karachi), Sarfraz Ahmad (Quetta), Misbah-ul-Haq (Islamabad) are likely to captain their respective franchises, while Lahore - having not picked an experienced local player - appears to be the only team that may go with an overseas player as captain.
Captain Shahid Afridi with the Peshawar brains trust // cricket.com.au
On the opening day, each team had to pick at least four foreign and as many local players from the top three categories – Platinum, Diamond and Golden. In total, 21 overseas and 24 local players were picked on the first day.
The second day of the draft tomorrow will see teams buying players from Silver, Emerging and Supplementary categories. Most of them will be local signings.
Lahore has completed their quota of five overseas players for the 16-man squad, however they can pick one more outsider tomorrow in the round of supplementary players.
PAKISTAN SUPER LEAGUE DRAFT (current BBL players in italics)
Peshawar Zalmi Overseas: Darren Sammy, Chris Jordan, Tamim Iqbal, Jim Allenby Local: Shahid Afridi (icon), Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Junaid Khan
Karachi Kings Overseas: Shakib Al Hasan, Ravi Bopara, Lendl Simmons, James Vince Local: Shoaib Malik (icon), Sohail Tanvir, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Aamir, Bilawal Bhatti
Islamabad United Overseas: Shane Watson (icon), Andre Russell, Samuel Badree, Brad Haddin Local: Misbah-ul-Haq, Mohammad Irfan, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif
Quetta Gladiators Overseas: Kevin Pietersen (icon), Jason Holder, Luke Wright, Elton Chigumbura Local: Sarfraz Ahmad, Ahmad Shahzad, Anwar Ali, Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Gul
Lahore Qalandars Overseas: Chris Gayle (icon), Dwyane Bravo, Mustafizur Rehman, Kevon Cooper, Cameron Delport Local: Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah, Sohaib Maqsood
Re-live day one of the PSL draft as it happened below