Quetta Gladiators will turn up on the field for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final with a significantly altered line-up to the one that has seen them through in the first place. On Saturday, the morning after they discovered their opponents for the game in Lahore on Sunday, they secured the services of five foreign players to replace their contracted roster, none of whom were prepared to travel to Pakistan for security reasons. Their XI will feature a combination from Bangladesh’s Anamul Haque, South Africa’s Morne van Wyk, Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura and Sean Ervine, and West Indies’ Rayad Emrit who have all agreed to travel to Lahore. They are not quite like-for-like replacements for Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Roussow, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Nathan McCullum but organisers will be relieved that they do at least have an overseas contingent to rely on for the final.
Haque, van Wyk (both wicketkeeper-batsmen), Chigumbura and Erive (both allrounders) will join the team on Sunday morning, while logistics are being worked out to get Emrit (also an allrounder) to Lahore in time for the match that begins at 8pm local time. Pakistan pacer Aizaz Cheema has also been added to the squad, a replacement for the injured Umar Gul. Team mentor Viv Richards and fielding coach Julien Fountain are expected to arrive in Lahore for the game in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“KP, Luke, Rilee, Mills would have been great but we respect their decision,” the franchise said. “We are still confident of winning the PSL final despite missing the big stars. For our local players, playing at home is a huge opportunity. The experience of playing in front of the home crowd is massive, and all of them are excited about it.”
The local players of the Quetta squad are already in Lahore and have had training sessions at the National Cricket Academy, next to the Gaddafi Stadium where the match against Peshawar Zalmi will be played.
Sammy leads foreign players’ group to Lahore
PSL organisers got a shot in the arm with a number of foreign players agreeing to play in the final. Soon after Peshawar team reached the final, the team owners announced that their foreign players have agreed to fly out to Lahore.
West Indies star player and captain Darren Sammy and his compatriot Marlon Samuels have announced that they will play in the final. Others to follow suit are England’s David Malan, Chris Jordan and Samit Patel—they all have been issued a seven-day visa for Pakistan.
Karachi Kings coach Mickey Arthur, who is also the coach of the Pakistan national team, have flown to Lahore as he has plans to organise a few camps before the West Indies tour.