Multan Sultans have signed the West Indies allrounder Andre Russell in place of the injured Steven Smith for the 2018-19 PSL season. Other notable moves at the PSL replacement draft on Thursday include Lahore Qalandars bringing in the South African pair of Hardus Viljoen and David Wiese to cover for the partial availability of AB de Villiers, Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson through the season.
Smith, who is presently serving a one-year ban from Australian international and domestic cricket for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, was the second player picked at the PSL draft. His participation in the tournament, however, was ruled out when he suffered an elbow injury during the BPL, which was found to require surgery. This setback leaves him unlikely to resume his international career as soon as his ban ends at the end of March.
Apart from Russell, Multan also picked up James Vince as a replacement for his fellow England batsman Joe Denly, who will miss the PSL after being picked in the ODI squad for the tour of the West Indies.
"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," Multan Sultans captain Shoaib Malik said. "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.
"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."
Waqar Salamkheil, the Afghanistan left-arm seamer, has pulled out of the PSL due to a clash with Afghanistan's tour of Ireland. Peshawar Zalmi have picked the West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher, whom they had released last year, as his replacement. Quetta Gladiators, meanwhile, have picked Dwayne Smith to cover for Dwayne Bravo, who will not be able to join them before February 27.
"Smith brings a wealth of experience with him and will be extremely valuable for us in the top-order in the UAE leg of HBL PSL 2019," said Quetta coach Moin Khan.
During the replacement draft, all six teams were also given the option of picking their 21st player from Pakistan. Lahore snapped up the middle-order batsman Saad Ali, while Multan went for the allrounder Hammad Azam. Quetta and Karachi Kings went for Mohammad Irfan Jr. and Umer Khan respectively. Islamabad United and Peshawar did not submit their picks, but the PCB has confirmed both teams will name their player later.