It was meant to ritzy. It was meant to be glamourous. It was meant to show off the best of Pakistani cricket.
But it didn’t.
No one checked to see if Zainab Abbas’ audio sounded better than radio static. No one told the attendees that they should at least dress better than if they are hanging out at the Emporium Mall with their rami mates. No one told the set designers that the draft was for the 2020 competition and not the 2019 one.
The male to female ratio was so out of balance that if this event was held in Australia, we’d call it a BBQ. It was full of sausage.
For balance, the big screens and countdowns looked cool. They were large and grand and impressive. They were probably gifts from Haier.
The team owners all gave their best performances.
However, once the actual draft picks started flowing in, there was more confusion than someone trying to use a Rs1,000 bank note in India post demonetisation.
But enough of that stuff. You want to know what I think about your team.
So let’s take a look at the squads.
Someone somewhere wants to get excited about Islamabad United. But this team are the elevator music of the PSL. They aren’t Lahore and they aren’t Karachi so are only there to make up the numbers. In fact, the most interesting thing to ever happen to Islamabad United was the 2017 spot fixing saga that amazingly happened under Wasim Akram’s watch. Well, it was, until Pakistan’s current national coach and chief selector decided there was no conflict of interest in coaching a PSL team. Expect the upcoming Pakistani Test squad to face Sri Lanka to be dressed primarily in red and orange.
Their marquee pick this year was Dale Steyn. This is awesome if you like guys that can’t last two overs before breaking down and flying back home. In fact, Islamabad have gone long on Kolpak mercenaries, selecting four South Africans. Given how bad Cricket South Africa is currently travelling, don’t be surprised if the quartet all claim asylum when landing in Pakistan.
The Karachi normal everyday Kings are obviously sick of playing second fiddle to the Chennai Super Kings, and are now copying their every move. Their list has two convicted spot fixers, a coach who defended one of them in a hearing, a President who was banned from being national captain and paid a fine for dodgy behaviour that is meticulously documented in the Qayyum report, an English import with a penchant for drug use and a captain who isn’t in Pakistan’s national T20 squad, despite that squad’s actual captain being on the Karachi roster.
All that the Karachi Kings need now is a Supreme Court investigation into their antics, a sealed envelope with 13 players and officials named, Salman Iqbal to claim he is just an enthusiast and a two year ban.
The Lahore Qalandars could select Kohli, Smith, Williamson and Root if they wanted. It wouldn’t matter. These guys have the worst T20 win/loss record of any domestic franchise in the world. They don’t participate in the draft to select good players. They only participate so that we can all say what a lovely guy Fawad Rana is.
To be fair, any team that selects Salman Butt for anything deserves to continually lose. Or maybe that’s what Butt has arranged in his own magical way for personal gain. Can someone please keep the younger players away from him? He has form.
The Sixth Team are back for season five with an earth shattering strategy. They only picked players based on statistical analysis so that vested interests from managers, coaches and PCB hacks would have no influence. Doesn’t owner Ali Khan Tareen know that this type of professionalism and value sets have no place in Pakistani cricket circles? He’s likely to be run out of town by his peers if he keeps this up.
But it isn’t all perfect there despite these theatrics. They have a squad member who served a ban for not reporting a spot fixing approach, and another one doesn’t believe his girls should play cricket because of some ridiculous reason that clashes with everything that Ali Khan Tareen stands for.
But they do have the best coach in Andy Flower. He’s probably the only person in the whole PSL circus who isn’t conflicted by something. I also expect that Multan players will have access to the best mangoes.
The Zalmi is everyone’s second team and for good reason. Their owner Javed Afridi is a saint, Daren Sammy wins matches for them while batting on one leg and they have an Akmal brother. That makes them just about perfect.
But bowler and jacket lender Wahab Riaz turned his back on his country and that doesn’t sit well with many. However, that is balanced by the fact that Hasan Ali once taunted the whole of India at the Wagah Gate. So that makes everything ok.
Defending champions Quetta Gladiators probably have the best list. Any team with three Australians in it is always going to win. When one of them is Fawad Ahmad, it is a certainty. Where ever he plays, trophies follow.
Shane Watson has been retained so that he can play acoustic covers of the new String album. Jason Roy will enjoy the fact that it is a white ball and not a red one. Umar Akmal will enjoy grapes. Sarfraz will enjoy everyone commentating on how much weight he has lost.
So, in summary I look forward to Quetta playing Multan in the final and for the Karachi Kings to have the most squad members arrested.
But none of this matters at all because cricket is finally coming home.