Banned Australia captain Steven Smith is among the 500 players to be named in the draft for the fourth edition of Pakistan Super League. Smith has been classified as a Platinum Player – the highest-paid category – alongside the retired South Africa batsman AB de Villiers. ESPNcricinfo understands that David Warner had turned down PSL’s management request to participate in the league.
Smith and Warner, who had been banned from playing international and domestic cricket for 12 months by Cricket Australia for their roles in the Newlands ball-tampering incident, have been playing T20 leagues across the globe. The duo featured in the Global T20 in Canada and the Caribbean Premier League before they turned out in grade cricket in Sydney.
De Villiers, who retired from all international cricket in May, had confirmed his participation with a tweet in September.
Australia’s limited-overs specialist Chris Lynn, who had missed the previous season after dislocating his shoulder, has been retained in Lahore Qalandars’ roster, while Islamabad United have held on to JP Duminy and Andre Russell – although it is unlikely they will be a part of the tournament due to their domestic and national commitments.
Brendon McCullum, a platinum-category player, has been retained by Lahore Qalandars, but it has understood they might release him from their roster with their sights set on Smith or de Villiers. Qalandars have finished bottom of the league in each of the previous three PSL seasons.
Afghanistan’s ace spinner Rashid Khan, who is also in the platinum category on Quetta Gladiators’ roster, had missed the last season for the World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. His availability this year depends on Afghanistan Cricket Board’s nod.
The retention and trade window in PSL is expected to close in the second week of October, after which all the released players go into the draft. Each squad will need to have at least 16 players apart from four places which are reserved for young and emerging talent.
The fourth edition of PSL set to begin on February 14 in Dubai. The last eight games will be held in Pakistan with Karachi set to host the final for the second consecutive year.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo’s Pakistan correspondent
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.