Multan Sultans have transferred Shahid Afridi and James Vince to Quetta Gladiators in return for a Diamond and Silver pick in the new PSL draft. In another deal, the Gladiators sent wicketkeeper-batsman Azam Khan to Islamabad United in exchange for Iftikhar Ahmed. Afridi stated after moving to his fourth PSL franchise: “I’m thrilled to be joining the Quetta Gladiators, a team that has had a roller-coaster journey in recent years despite winning the title in 2019. After experiencing success with Peshawar Zalmi in 2017, it will be my dream and wish to sign off with another PSL trophy in my final PSL event. The PSL is a competition that stimulates and inspires players to give their all. I’ll apply the same drive to helping my teammates and putting on performances that will help us meet our event goals.”

The PSL management has also rejigged various player categories ahead of the draft for the 2018 edition, most notably shifting Mohammad Rizwan – who captained Sultans to the title last year – up from Silver, the third-most valued category, to Platinum, the most lucrative. Asif Ali, a United hitter, and Haris Rauf, a Lahore Qalandars spinner, are also in the Platinum category. The PCB decided on the categories this year. The six franchises used to divide players into groups in earlier editions.

United faced a difficult option in releasing Iftikhar because they were only allowed to have two local players in each of the Platinum and Diamond categories. They have to leave one of Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, or Iftikhar out because they now have Shadab Khan and Asif in platinum. Instead, they put Azam in the Gold group. “It was a difficult decision to leave Islamabad United, but I felt it was the best move for my future in T20 cricket, which is related to the Pakistan team,” Iftikhar added.

“I am grateful to the management of Islamabad United for their continuous support and understanding, as they have stood by me in all of my decisions. I’m ecstatic to be reuniting with Shahid Afridi at Quetta Gladiators after we previously played together in the HBL PSL in 2017. A number of my contemporaries play with the Quetta Gladiators, with whom I have played a lot of cricket.”