The HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 franchises have retained all the key members of Pakistan’s T20I side ahead of the players’ draft for the upcoming season. The draft for PSL 2020 is all set to take place on December 6 (Friday) which in all likelihood is like to ring a few surprises.

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The six-team franchise-based tournament which started in 2015 has gained a lot of fan base in all these years. The popularity has only gone up with each passing year and is one of the top leagues after Indian Premier League and Big Bash League. The competition unfolds in a double round-robin format before the top four teams with the best record qualify for the playoffs and culminate in the championship game, the PSL Cup Final.

With another edition of the lucrative coming ahead, the franchises have started their work in the blackboards to fill in the puzzles. The management will be keen to sign utility players during the draft who can fill in the gaps and take them to the title glory. So far, Islamabad United have the most successful team winning the trophy twice while Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi have lifted the title once each.

Quetta Gladiators with the PSL 2019 trophy. Credit: Twitter

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The defending champions Quetta Gladiators have shown faith in the departing Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. The wicket-keeper batsman received a lot of flak for his poor outings during the ICC World Cup 2019 and was ultimately stripped off from captaincy after Misbah ul Haq took over as the head coach role. However, Sarfaraz has looked promising in domestic cricket which might have worked in his favour. On the other hand, Gladiators have also kept their faith in Mohammad Nawaz for the nex season. Besides, they have also retained veteran all-rounder Shane Watson, who won the player of HBL PSL 2019.

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Shaheen Afridi will once again be in Lahore Qalandars’  while the likes Pakistan’s T20I skipper Babar Azam and Mohammad Amir will continue to ply their trade for Karachi Kings. Multan Sultans have retained veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi as player cum mentor Peshawar Zalmi have shown faith in Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard, and Wahab Riaz among others.

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Meanwhile, all six franchises of PSL will have to sign a minimum of 16 and a maximum of 18 players in their squad. However, the combination will have to three platinum, three diamond, three gold, five silver, two emerging and two supplementary (optional). Moreover, there have to be foreign picks among the first nine players, and the 16-player squad must include five foreign and 11 local players; while the 18-player team can consist of six international and 12 local players or five foreign and 13 local players.

Here is the list of players retained and released by all the six franchises ahead of PSL 2020:

Islamabad United

Players retained – Shadab Khan (Platinum), Faheem Ashraf (Diamond as Brand Ambassador), Asif Ali (Diamond), Luke Ronchi (Gold as Player Mentor), Hussain Talat (Gold), Amad Butt, Musa Khan and Rizwan Hussain (Silver)

Players released – Alex Hales, Cameron Delport, Chadwick Walton, Ian Bell, Mohammad Sami, Nasir Nawaz, Philip Salt, Rumman Raees, Sahibzada Farhan, Samit Patel, Waqas Maqsood, Wayne Parnell, Zafar Gohar and Zahir Khan

Karachi Kings

Players retained – Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir (both Platinum), Imad Wasim (Diamond as Brand Ambassador), Iftikhar Ahmed (Diamond), Aamir Yamin (Gold), Usama Mir (Silver) and Umer Khan (Emerging)

Players released – Aaron Summers, Abrar Ahmed, Ali Imran, Awais Zia, Ben Dunk, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Jaahid Ali, Liam Livingstone, Mohammad Rizwan, Ravi Bopara, Sikandar Raza, Sohail Khan and Usman Shinwari (transferred to Lahore Qalandars)

Lahore Qalandars

Players retained – Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez (both Platinum), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Diamond as Brand Ambassador), David Wiese, Usman Shinwari (Diamond, Usman transferred from Karachi Kings), Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar (both Gold), Salman Butt (Silver).

Players released – AB de Villiers (not available in 2020), Agha Salman, Aizaz Cheema, Anton Devcich, Asela Gunaratne, Brendan Taylor, Carlos Brathwaite, Corey Anderson (not available in 2020), Gohar Ali, Hardus Viljoen, Haris Sohail, Hassan Khan, Mohammad Imran, Rahat Ali, Riki Wessels, Ryan ten Doeschate (not available in 2020), Saad Ali, Sandeep Lamichhane, Umair Masood, Yasir Shah

Multan Sultans

Players retained – Mohammad Irfan (Platinum), Shahid Afridi (Diamond as Player Mentor), James Vince (Gold as Brand Ambassador), Junaid Khan (Gold), Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood (both Silver) and Mohammad Ilyas (Emerging)

Players released – Andre Russell (not available in 2020), Chris Green, Dan Christian, Hammad Azam, Joe Denly, Johnson Charles, Laurie Evans, M. Irfan Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Junaid, Nicholas Pooran, Numan Ali, Qais Ahmed, Shakeel Ansar, Shoaib Malik, Steve Smith (not available in 2020), Tom Moores and Umar Siddiq

Peshawar Zalmi

Players retained – Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard, Wahab Riaz (all Platinum), Kamran Akmal (Diamond as Brand Ambassador), Daren Sammy (Gold as Player Mentor), Imam-ul-Haq (Gold) and Umar Amin (Silver)

Players released – Andre Fletcher, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Ibtesam Sheikh, Jamal Anwar, Khalid Usman, Lendl Simmons, Liam Dawson, Misbah-ul-Haq (not available in 2020), Nabi Gul, Sameen Gul, Samiullah, Sohaib Maqsood, Tymal Mills, Umaid Asif, Waqar Salamkheil and Wayne Madsen

Quetta Gladiators

Players retained – Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (both Platinum), Shane Watson (Diamond as Player Mentor), Ahmed Shehzad (Diamond), Umar Akmal (Gold as Brand Ambassador),  Mohammad Hasnain (Gold), Ahsan Ali and Naseem Shah (Silver)

Players released – Anwar Ali, Danish Aziz, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Fawad Ahmed, Ghulam Mudassar, Harry Gurney, Jalat Khan, Max Waller, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Azam Khan, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Rilee Rossouw, Saud Shakil and Sohail Tanvir