With Pakistan Super League instructing its five franchise to release 10 players, two in each category – Platinum, Diamond, Gold and Silver – including overseas players, in order to accommodate newcomers Multan Sultans, there were some surprising releases from the teams with Chris Gayle’s ouster being the highlight. The Sultans will be buying their players next week and will make their debut in the forthcoming season.

Gayle’s ouster, meanwhile, has not come as a big surprise. With the hard-hitting West Indian failing to set the stage on the fire in the last season, Karachi Kings did not hesitate in releasing him. The Karachi-based outfit also axed former Sri Lanka skippers Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. In yet another surprising decision, the Kings also released Pakistan’s veteran batsman Shoaib Malik who recently did well in the three-match series against World XI. However, they have roped in former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi. The maverick allrounder had won the title in the last edition with Peshawar Zalmi and is likely to lead his new side.

The Kings also traded fast-bowler Sohail Khan, the second-highest wicket-taker in the second season, for Mohammad Rizwan from Lahore Qalandars.

Meanwhile, the Qalandars, who had finished the last season at the bottom, have also released some big names. England opener Jason Roy, Pakistan star Azhar Ali, Grant Elliot and Chris Green have been released by the Lahore-based outfit.

On the other hand, defending champions Peshawar Zalmi released England skipper Eoin Morgan and Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal but retained their marqee player Kamran Akmal, who was the leading run-scorer in the second season.

Following the instructions, Islamabad United also followed suit as they released Sam Billings, Shane Watson, Muhammad Irfan and Brad Haddin. United, meanwhile, will be coached by bowling legend Waqar Younis in the upcoming season. Quetta Gladiators, on their part, retained their skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Kevin Pietersen for the third edition, but released opener Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Gul.