I hate match reviews. Reading that Mitch Marsh failed again with the bat or that the Indians have beaten Zimbabwe at home again is not my idea of fun. So therefore, I refuse to write them. You can get what you need from Cricinginfobuzz.
However, last night I sat through the PSL draft. I was on my couch and was able to see it courtesy of a free stream through YouTube. This my amigos is the future. And this my amigos dictated that I write a review of it.
Full disclosure. I don’t know much about drafts. In my day, when somebody mentioned drafts, it involved pulling dates out of a barrel, attending a 10 week boot camp and then being shipped off to Vietnam. But the Pakistan Cricket Board have taken that concept, removed the killing of innocent children and created the most glorious of events.
The actual draft commenced with the 37 invited guests sitting on cheaply dressed round tables that had been stolen from the lower class wedding next door. All that was lacking from the set was a few white horses with their ears pinned backwards, a cold bain-marie of assorted curries and Azhar Ali’s mother in law cursing her daughter’s choices.
The PCB President, Ehsan Mani, kicked off proceedings. His rambling and stunted speech about the PSL being great was just like what Najeem Sethi would have said. Accept Mani delivered his with less gravitas, more nervousness and elite sloganism.
Another thing I noticed that watching the PSL Draft was entirely safe. I never felt intimidated by terrorists once. Pakistan seem to have this whole “Safety in Streaming” thing nailed.
Plenty of the gloss was taken away from the draft because Umar Akmal had been selected by Quetta Gladiators prior to this event. It’s like if someone told you that Imran Khan was picked as Prime Minister the day before the election. You’d still watch it, but the drama is gone.
Speaking of Imran Khan, he did a marvellous job as both PM and also host of the draft. He obviously keeps himself in great shape and doesn’t appear to have aged one bit.
Zainab Abbas was responsible for interviewing celebrities over to the side. Luke Ronchi was her first guest. He came dressed in Islamabad United kit. Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell him that Misbah-ul-Haq had quit that franchise and Ronchi was left to rue that fact he’d now be a team mate of Samit Patel, because, apparently, there was no one better to select.
Zainab also slipped into only speaking Urdu for a while, which Jeremy McLellan and I found not very inclusive as we watched the event from my home while slurping down copious amounts of Pakola.
The Lahore Qalandars decided to draft AB de Villiers, which meant that the South African would get to experience what continual losing is like for the first time in his career. To illustrate just how badly Lahore was going, they also drafted Corey Anderson instead of James Anderson.
Moin Khan looked glamourous in a purple leather jacket. He later explained that he purchased it with a 10% off discount code and free shipping offer from Daraz. The ICC have sent the jacket to an independent lab to test whether it is actually real leather. I suspect not.
Shahid Afridi nominated for the Emerging Player category, and for his sins, ended up at “The 6th Team”. After one season as being known as the Multan Sultans, the PCB have changed their name, totally disrespecting the years of tradition and a history going back to at least last month. And this, all because some property developer in the UAE refused to pay an invoice. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the Australian Government changed my name from Dennis to “The 75th best cricket journalist in Melbourne” if I forgot to pay the power bill.
Anyhow, The 6th Team, ably managed at the moment by Haider Azhar, cousin of Azhar Ali, who invented Alibaba, which employs Baba Azam, was using a random English name generator to select its players. Tom Moores and Laurie Evans appear as real to me as the Sasquatch.
When it was time for the Bronze Commentator Category, I felt I was in for a chance. Perhaps Peshawar Zalmi would follow through on their promise and pick me as their official gora. Maybe Karachi Kings would nominate me as their meme creator. But alas, nothing came through. I was feeling like Ahmed Shahzad. But then Nadeem Omar drafted him to Quetta and I felt like Virat Kohli. Unwanted by the PSL but still extremely handsome and worshipped by billions.
When Ian Bell’s name was read out, cries of “Oi Baiinnnnsssss” reverberated around the world. The Islamabad United management claimed that they knew nothing of this obvious draft fixing and would start an independent review into the matter headed by Salman Butt.
The draft only concluded because the supply of karak chai ran out and it was past Zaheer Abbass’ bed time. My only suggestion for next year is that someone remembers to invite me.