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Karachi Kings trade Babar Azam to Peshawar Zalmi, get Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik in return

Lahore Qalandars release Fakhar Zaman, while Quetta Gladiators let go of Naseem Shah

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
Babar Azam will appear for Peshawar Zalmi in the upcoming season  •  PCB/PSL

Babar Azam will appear for Peshawar Zalmi in the upcoming season  •  PCB/PSL

Karachi Kings have traded their captain Babar Azam to Peshawar Zalmi to get Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik for the upcoming season of the Pakistan Super League. Quetta Gladiators were also interested in Babar but couldn't close the deal.
At the moment, Babar is the only player in Platinum category for Zalmi, who also got the first pick in the supplementary round of the draft in exchange. Similarly, Haider is currently Kings' only player in Platinum category, while Malik joins Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir in Diamond.
Kings is the third team Babar will represent in the PSL. He started with Islamabad United in 2016 before moving to Kings the next year. Since then he was with them. Malik, on the other hand, returns to Kings. He played for them in 2016 and 2017, moved to Multan Sultans for 2018 and 2019, and was with Zalmi from 2020 to 2022.
During the trade and retention window, each side could assemble up to eight players. Zalmi were the only one to retain seven players.
In the draft, the franchises can increase their squad size to 18. In all, teams can pick up to three each in Platinum, Diamond and Gold categories, five in Silver, two in Emerging and two in Supplementary categories. Just like the last year, the franchises will have the Right-to-Match card to pick any player they have released from their roster.
Lahore Qalandars, the defending champions, retained their core set of players except for Fakhar Zaman. ESPNcricinfo understands Fakhar will be picked by Qalandars anyway as the franchise will open the draft with their first Platinum pick. Qalandars retained Rashid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, David Wiese, Abdullah Shafique, Harry Brook and Kamran Ghulam. Zaman Khan will continue to represent Qalandars as their emerging player. They parted ways with Mohammad Hafeez, though.
Gladiators retained their long-term captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, but the PCB demoted him from Platinum to Gold category. However, they released Naseem Shah, who will now go in the draft. In the draft order, Gladiators have the second turn in the first round of Platinum category. They have let go of Sohail Tanvir and Shahid Afridi, who is now retired. Mohammad Nawaz is their Platinum category player. Iftikhar Ahmed, Jason Roy, Mohammad Hasnain, Naveen-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal and Will Smeed are the others who have been retained.
Sultans retained their captain Mohammad Rizwan in Platinum category. Tim David was also retained but was demoted from Platinum category to Gold. Shan Masood, Rilee Rossouw, and Shahnawaz Dahani, who is now Sultans' brand ambassador as well, too will continue with the franchise. Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah are the emerging-category retentions.
Shadab Khan, Pakistan's T20I vice-captain who has been the nucleus of United, will stay with the franchise, alongside Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali (demoted to Diamond) and Mohammad Wasim. Top-order batters Colin Munro and Paul Stirling, and wicketkeeper-batter Azam Khan rounds up their eight-man line-up ahead of the draft.
For the draft, 493 overseas players have registered in different categories; the most being from England (140), followed by Sri Lanka (60), Afghanistan (43), West Indies (38), Bangladesh (28), South Africa (25), Australia (14), Zimbabwe (11) and Ireland (9). From those, 29 are listed in Platinum category and 81 in Diamond category. Further details about the draft will be announced at a later date.
The 2023 season will start on February 9, and the final will take place on March 19. Four venues - Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Multan - will host the matches, a change from the previous two seasons, when Covid-19 forced the whole tournament to be played at just two centres, Lahore and Karachi.
Full list of retained players:
Islamabad United: Shadab Khan (Platinum). Asif Ali (Brand Ambassador) and Mohammad Wasim (Diamond). Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali (Gold). Colin Munro and Paul Stirling (Silver).
Karachi Kings: Haider Ali (Platinum). Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir and Shoaib Malik (Diamond). Aamir Yamin, Mir Hamza and Sharjeel Khan (Silver). Qasim Akram (Emerging)
Lahore Qalandars: Shaheen Shah Afridi and Rashid Khan (Platinum). Haris Rauf (Brand Ambassador) and David Wiese (Diamond). Abdullah Shafique (Gold). Kamran Ghulam and Harry Brook (Silver). Zaman Khan (Emerging).
Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan (Platinum). Khushdil Shah, Rilee Rossouw and Shan Masood (Diamond). Shahnawaz Dahani (Brand Ambassador) and Tim David (Gold). Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah (Emerging).
Peshawar Zalmi: Babar Azam (Platinum). Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz (Diamond). Mohammad Haris (Gold). Aamir Jamal (Brand Ambassador), Salman Irshad and Tom-Kohler Cadmore (Silver).
Quetta Gladiators: Mohammad Nawaz (Platinum). Iftikhar Ahmed and Jason Roy (Diamond). Mohammad Hasnain and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Gold). Naveen-ul-Haq, Umar Akmal (Mentor) and Will Smeed (Silver)

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent