Pakistan Super League 2017 March 4, 2017

Quetta fully revamp overseas-players roster


Former Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura is among the five overseas players who have agreed to join Quetta Gladiators for the PSL final in Lahore © AFP

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 - both overseas recruitments - 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. As the city prepares for the much-awaited game with various security measures, an estimated 18,000 tickets have already been sold and a full house is expected.

Their opponents Peshawar, meanwhile, will be able to call upon nearly all of their first-choice foreign stars, having successfully convinced their quartet to travel to Lahore for the game*. The captain Darren Sammy was asked after Friday evening's win over Karachi Kings in Dubai about Lahore, but he evaded the question, saying only that he had to discuss the matter with the franchise owner Javed Afridi.

Late on Saturday, however, league officials confirmed that Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan would be playing and were due to arrive in Lahore early Sunday morning - the delay in confirmation was due to the wait for Jordan's clearance from the ECB. Their fifth foreign player, England allrounder Samit Patel, has not been given an NOC by his county Nottinghamshire, and will not travel to Lahore. In the squad are also two emerging Afghanistan players.

The PCB has been firm on playing the final in Lahore - despite a spate of bombings rocking the city and other parts of the country too last month - as it sees the match as an opportunity to show that it is safe for international cricket to return to Pakistan. Zimbabwe and Afghanistan are the only international teams to play in Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in March 2009. The Zimbabwe series in 2015 was not incident free, with a bomb blast occurring during the second ODI 800 metres away from the stadium and killing two people.

Among the security measures in check this time are three layers of security checks, some as far as two kilometres away from the ground, a new range of scanning and CCTV equipment, and the deployment of over 10,000 security personnel including Pakistan's paramilitary force, the Rangers.

*18.40 GMT - This story was updated with confirmation from the PSL about the status of Peshawar's overseas players

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  •   Shoaib Khan on March 6, 2017, 3:36 GMT

    Haters gonna hate ,but arguably was one of the best ever leagues final played crowed wise, atmosphere wise and organization wise....well done Pakistan and PCB for organizing such a great PSL final.

    For next year, only those international players should be included by teams who are willing to travel to Pakistan, especially when all knock out games will be played in Pakistan Once again well done Pakistani crowd and PCB.

  • Nish on March 5, 2017, 10:34 GMT

    When you have to offer overseas players incentive payments to play in the country & ship them in on the morning of the match & then presumably ship them out of the country immediately after the match with the highest level of security imposed in Lahore for the match, how can the PCB ever claim this match is an opportunity to show that it is safe for international cricket to return to Pakistan? Nevertheless sincerely hope today's PSL final match is a great & peaceful match.

  • Juzer on March 5, 2017, 6:30 GMT

    Cricket should never be played with any threat looming over, otherwise how can you play a really good game. Had followed PSL closely, but the final is almost a farce. You cannot convince anyone that it is safe to play international cricket there normally by providing top level security like this !

  • Owais on March 4, 2017, 20:57 GMT

    Regardless of final lineups I am 100percent sure it will be a cracking contest.

  • Danish on March 4, 2017, 20:07 GMT

    I'm really glad the English players of Zalmi have decided travel to Lahore. The reason is that the English board is very much against playing in Pak and coming here despite that requires some courage. Also, both are young and very much prospects for the national team (Jordan already is in T20s, which adds to the courage. Sincerely hope everything goes great.

  • Jahan on March 4, 2017, 18:48 GMT

    Akmal, Hafeez, Iftikhar, Haris, Sohaib, Khushdil, Israr, Wahab, Hassan, Asghar, Junaid. I think Peshawar Zalmi have a better bunch of local players. Both their batting and bowling look better than Quetta. Only Shahzad is a threat for PZ because he has the ability to play quick and score big . Surfraz cannot score more a 120 strike rate.

  • imran on March 4, 2017, 14:43 GMT

    I would have only taken Ten-dotachtee and Anmul only for Quetta.. I hope Sammy and co comes as they definitely enjoy the visit here.. great hospitality.. looking forward to PSL Lahore final. It's exciting.

  • Shehryar on March 4, 2017, 14:28 GMT

    this is a disaster. simple as that. whats the point of the match just hand it over to peshawar zalmi, their overseas boys came and quetta's didnt

  • Danish on March 4, 2017, 13:35 GMT

    Hmm.. they're alright I suppose. Ervine and Chigumbura have been great for Zimbabwe, but both are inconsistent. I haven't seen much of Morne and Anamul and never heard of the West Indian. I do believe there were better players available to them (in the initial list presented here). From these selected ones, I'd like to see both Zimbabweans play

  • imrpat7403107 on March 4, 2017, 13:24 GMT

    They should have gone with Richard levi and Ryan ten-duschatee as they are both way better than all four they chose. Still goodluck to QG only thing going for them is that sarfaraz can make things happen without resources otherwise it's PZ without a doubt

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