Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent
PSL 2024 (2)
NZ v AUS (1)
Ranji Trophy (2)
WCL 2 (1)
Nepal Tri-Nation (1)
Sheffield Shield (3)
CWC Play-off (4)
BAN v SL (1)
After moving to his fourth PSL franchise, Afridi said: "I am excited to join Quetta Gladiators, a side that has had a roller-coaster ride in the past few events despite winning the title in 2019. In my final PSL event, it will be my dream and wish to sign off with another PSL trophy after tasting success with Peshawar Zalmi in 2017. PSL is an event that encourages and inspires a player to give his very best. I will use the same motivation to help my team and put up performances that can help us achieve our event objectives."
For the upcoming edition, the PSL management has also rejigged categories for some players ahead of the draft, notably moving Mohammad Rizwan - who captained Sultans to the title last year - up from Silver, the third-most valuable category, to Platinum, the most valuable. United batter Asif Ali and Lahore Qalandars bowler Haris Rauf also take their places in the Platinum category. This year, the categories were decided by the PCB. In previous editions, the six franchises would classify players into categories.
Leaving Iftikhar was a tricky decision for United as they were allowed to have up to two local players in each of the Platinum and Diamond categories. Since they now have Shadab Khan and Asif in platinum, they had to leave one of Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf and Iftikhar out. They added Azam in the Gold category instead.
"It has been a difficult decision to move from Islamabad United, but looking ahead at my future in T20 cricket that is linked to the Pakistan team, I thought this was the best move," Iftikhar said.
"I am grateful to the Islamabad United management for their support and understanding, as they have continued to stand behind me in all my decisions. I am thrilled to be rejoining Shahid Afridi at Quetta Gladiators after 2017, when we last played together in HBL PSL. Quetta Gladiators include a number of my contemporaries with whom I have played lot of cricket."
The seventh PSL season will be beginning on January 27 next year, with a pre-tournament draft on December 12. The league, which begins about a month earlier than usual to make room for Australia's upcoming tour of Pakistan in March-April, will be ending on February 27.
Every franchise is allowed to retain up to eight players from their previous roster and pick another eight in the draft. Players who were picked up as replacements for the Abu Dhabi leg in PSL 6 have not been considered in the original roster. Each team is also allowed to pick two additional players in the supplementary round.
Only two venues will be hosting the PSL: Karachi's National Stadium will be staging the first 15 matches, while all other games - including the final - will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The deadline for PSL trades closed on Thursday with only United, Gladiators and Sultans utilising the option to trade. Teams now must decide their retentions - maximum of eight - by 4pm Pakistan time on Friday.