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PSL 2021 replacement draft – Lahore Qalandars bag Shakib Al Hasan, Quetta Gladiators sign Andre Russell

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Peshawar Zalmi have signed the West Indian trio of Fabian Allen, Rovman Powell and Fidel Edwards

The Lahore Qalandars have picked up allrounder Shakib Al Hasan as their replacement for Rashid Khan for the remainder of PSL 2021. The Karachi Kings snapped up Martin Guptill to fill in for Colin Ingram, while the Quetta Gladiators picked Andre Russell to replace Tom Banton, and Islamabad United brought in Usman Khawaja to cover for Alex Hales in their top order.

These were some of the biggest signings made on Tuesday night, when the six PSL teams met to choose replacements for the players who will miss the remainder of the 2021 season, which is set to resume on June 2. On March 4, the tournament was suspended mid-season when a number of players tested positive for Covid-19.

The teams’ rosters of local players remain intact but most of the overseas players, who were around before the postponement, will not be available for one reason or another. The English players will be busy with the Vitality Blast T20 tournament, while some others will be on national duty.

The six teams were given a list of over 135 players across all five categories. Lahore took a big hit, losing their middle-order core as well as their ace spinner Rashid. They picked up five players at the replacement draft to fill their vacant slots. Peshawar Zalmi suffered a big blow to their roster too, with key players Mujeeb Zadran, Saqib Mahmood and Ravi Bopara unavailable. They plugged the gap by signing three West Indian players in Fabian Allen, Rovman Powell and Fidel Edwards, with all three available for the entire remaining leg.

Karachi and the Multan Sultans picked up four players each while Quetta picked just one replacement.

The order of picks was settled through a randomiser, and Lahore won the first pick in the Platinum category. Russell was a high-profile option, but since he will only be available for a part of PSL 2021’s remainder, they went with Shakib instead.

Other than Hales, Islamabad will miss Lewis Gregory and Phil Salt but the franchise have roped in Khawaja and the South Africa batsman Janneman Malan and will welcome back Colin Munro, who missed the initial leg due to New Zealand’s quarantine rules. Quetta have only picked one replacement so far but may look for more once the availability of Chris Gayle and Dale Steyn become known.

The PSL will clash with several other series, making it tricky for the franchises to choose their combinations. An initial seven-day mandatory quarantine in the last week of May will directly clash with the IPL playoffs. This will be followed by an ODI series between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. West Indies and South Africa, meanwhile, are playing a Test and T20I series in June, while England will host New Zealand and Sri Lanka in the same timespan.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the newly picked players won’t be considered for retention for the next edition of the PSL. The nineteen players picked so far will be treated as provisional while the original roster (before the postponement) will be effective for next year’s pre-draft business.

The remainder of the tournament will be played in June, with all matches in Karachi, in a bio-security bubble being put in place by a UK-based company. The teams will assemble by May 23 to begin their mandatory seven-day quarantine, and action will resume on June 2, with the final on June 20.



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WBBL 2021 – Shafali Verma, Radha Yadav set for maiden WBBL deals

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Verma has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers

India batter Shafali Verma and left-arm spinner Radha Yadav are set to make their Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) debuts later this year in Australia.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Verma, 17, has already signed a contract with two-time champions Sydney Sixers while Yadav, 21, is on the verge of finalising her deal with one of the two Sydney-based clubs. Aside from Verma and Yadav, at least one more India player is likely to make her maiden appearance in the competition this season.

“Yes, Shafali has signed the contract with Sydney Sixers, and given she is a minor, I have had to give my consent, too,” Verma’s father, Sanjeev, told ESPNcricinfo. “I would like to thank the BCCI and Haryana Cricket Association [HCA] for giving my daughter the permission and support to play in the WBBL. Without the guidance of the HCA, whatever Shafali is doing in her career wouldn’t have been possible.”

A senior BCCI official told ESPNcricinfo that the WBBL could see the largest ever Indian contingent this season. “All players who have been or will be approached by Big Bash teams will be given all necessary permissions to participate in the WBBL this season,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

Verma, as reported by ESPNcricinfo last week, is also set to make her debut in the inaugural edition of the Hundred, the 100-ball domestic competition of the ECB. She will be joined by her India team-mates Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Deepti Sharma and Jemimah Rodrigues.

Only three India players have played in the WBBL previously. India T20I captain Kaur and vice-captain Mandhana debuted in the 2016-17 edition for the Sydney Thunder and the Brisbane Heat respectively. While Kaur played three straight seasons for the Thunder, Mandhana’s second bow in the competition was for the Hobart Hurricanes, in 2018-19. Veda Krishnamurthy played a solitary season, in 2017-18, also for the Hurricanes.

The WBBL didn’t have any Indian representation in 2019-20 as they focussed on preparing for the 2020 T20 World Cup instead, with assignments against South Africa and West Indies during the same time as the WBBL. A clash in scheduling with the 2020 Women’s T20 Challenge, the domestic three-team, four-match competition run by the BCCI, ruled at least three top-drawer India players out of the WBBL.

The seventh season of the WBBL is likely to run in its usual October-November window, and overseas players will be expected to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia.

Additional reporting by Daniel Brettig

Annesha Ghosh is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @ghosh_annesha



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Charter flight may return Maldives-bound Australia players this week

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The group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16

Australian cricketers, coaches and media currently stranded in the Maldives may be able to return to home shores as soon as Sunday.

Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association and the BCCI are still awaiting confirmation from the Australian government that citizens who have recently been to India will be allowed to return to home shores after May 15 as previously flagged.

However, under plans currently being thrashed out on that condition, the group of 38 would be able to take a charter flight out of the Maldives via Malaysia to Sydney on May 16, where they would then serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine period.



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India retain No. 1 spot in Test rankings, West Indies rise to sixth place | Cricket

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India have a one-point lead over New Zealand © Getty Images


India and New Zealand retained the top two places in the ICC men’s Test rankings after the annual update, while England overtook Australia for the third spot. West Indies also moved up by two positions to be placed sixth, one slot above South Africa.

India, who have an aggregate of 121 rating points, are only one point ahead of New Zealand. The two teams will face off against each other in the World Test Championship final to be held on June 18 in Southampton.

England climbed up by a place after their 4-0 defeat to Australia in 2017-18 was dropped from the rankings in the latest update. In the current cycle, all matches played since May 2020 are rated at 100% and those of the previous two years at 50%.

Meanwhile, West Indies moved from eighth to sixth place on the back of a 2-0 series win against Bangladesh and 0-0 draw with Sri Lanka earlier this year. This is their best position since 2013.

Pakistan remained fifth despite gaining three points after their 2-0 win against Zimbabwe. South Africa are placed seventh, their joint-lowest in Test ranking history. Only Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe are below them. Ireland and Afghanistan are yet to play enough Tests to figure on the rankings table.

Click here for full rankings table

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ESPN Sports Media Ltd.






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