LAHORE: The star-studded player roster of HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 received a further boost with the addition of the West Indies T20 star trio of Andre Russell, Dwayne Smith and Andre Fletcher, in-form England top-order batsman James Vince, and South Africa's duo of Hardus Viljeon and David Wise at the Replacement Player Draft took place here on Thursday.
Russell, the champion all-rounder, was picked by Multan Sultans as a replacement for an injured Australia batsman Steve Smith. Russell had played for Islamabad United in 2018 and will be available for the first seven matches in the UAE before returning to the Caribbean.
“HBL PSL is a quality tournament and I look forward to reuniting with some of the top international cricketers in 2019," said Russell.
“Multan Sultans have picked a very balanced squad this year and I am glad that I will have a chance to share the dressing room with Pakistani stalwarts Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi," he added.
The Sultans also scooped England batsman James Vince to replace his fellow countryman Joe Denly, who will be on national duty in the West Indies. Vince has amassed 4,166 runs in 161 T20 matches at an average of 29.75. He will look to replicate the form that saw him score two back-to-back half-centuries for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League in Australia.
“We had to deal with the double blow of losing out on Steve Smith and Joe Denly, but we are delighted that we have been able to bring in Andre Russell and James Vince," said Multan Sultans captain Shoaib Malik.
“Russell is one of the best T20 cricketers in the world and we are confident that he will bring his match-winning instinct to our dressing room this season," he said adding “Vince is a player we have kept our eyes on for a while now. We have picked him based on his consistent performances and we are very excited to see what he can do for Multan Sultans."
Quetta Gladiators have snapped up veteran West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith as cover for Dwayne Bravo from 14 to 27 February. Smith has played for Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in the previous seasons.
“Smith brings a wealth of experience with him and will be extremely valuable for us in the top-order for the UAE-leg of HBL PSL 2019," said Quetta Gladiators coach Moin Khan.
Lahore Qalandars have opted for South Africa's duo of Hardus Viljoen and David Wiese as cover for Corey Anderson and Carlos Brathwaite. Anderson will arrive late due to his domestic commitments, while Brathwaite is expected to be a part of the squad for the T20 series against England. In addition to the two, AB de Villiers is also available until 10 March.
West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher has returned to Peshawar Zalmi as a replacement for Waqar Salamkheil, who has withdrawn due to his Afghanistan commitments.
Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans are eligible to name partial replacements for Chris Jordan and Nicholas Pooran, respectively.
The two players are expected to be involved in the T20 series between England and West Indies in March.
Earlier, in a bid to encourage local talent, four of the six teams also named their local players to their squads. These are: Lahore Qalandars – Saad Ali (middle-order batsman), Multan Sultans – Hammad Azam (all-rounder), Quetta Gladiators – Mohammad Irfan Jr (fast bowler), Karachi Kings – Umer Khan (left-arm spinner).
Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United did not make their picks but may add one local player each at a later stage.