Top Zimbabwean cricketers have missed out on the opportunity for top level cricket competition after their names were overlooked in the final HBL Pakistan Super League draft conducted at the weekend.
The HBL Pakistan Super League is a T20 tournament and eight cricketers participated in the draft that featured not less than 400 top players selected from across the globe.
Former Chevrons captain Brendan Taylor and Sikandar Raza have played in the last two editions. However, Taylor could not be retained by Multan Sultans while Raza was also discarded by Peshawar Zalmi.
The duo entered the draft alongside compatriots Blessing Muzarabani, Cephas Zhuwao, Neville Madziva, Tendai Chisoro, Sean Williams and Zimbabwe’s “new kid on the block” Wesley Madhevere.
Taylor was in the diamond category while the rest of the local players were in the gold class.
The 34-year old, along with Englishman, Joe Denly, were late additions to the Sultans side after they were roped in ahead of the Pakistan Super League play-offs following Zimbabwe’s tour of Pakistan last November.
They were replacements for Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah and English player, James Vince, who had been ruled out of the tournament after they tested positive for Covid-19.
The Zimbabwean wicketkeeper/batsman, however, played no part in the playoffs. Previously, Taylor featured for Lahore Qalandars in 2019 but he scored only 17 runs before succumbing to injury.
Last year, all-rounder Raza joined Peshawar Zalmi ahead of their semi-final clash against Multan Sultans.
He was also signed in as a replacement after the side had lost about five players due to the coronavirus outbreak but he was not to take part in any of the matches.
On the day of the knock-out match, the organisers called the remaining matches off after English batsman Alex Hales developed fever-like symptoms upon his arrival back home and an opportunity to feature in a top-level tournament and gain valuable exposure went up in smoke.
But the previous year he had played for Karachi Kings.
The competition rules state that teams are allowed to retain a maximum of eight players from a squad of 18, so there were plenty of places up for grabs.
With over 400 foreign players putting their names in the hat, there was plenty of talent for management teams to choose from.
Franchise tournaments such as the PSL are critical in giving players the opportunity to feature in a top-level competition and gain valuable exposure.
Six franchise teams participate in the tournament.
Each side must have a minimum squad of 16 players and can have a maximum squad of 18 players as per the following combination: three platinum, three diamond, three gold, five silver, two emerging and two supplementary (optional)
The 16-player squad must include five foreign and 11 local players; while the 18-player squad can include six foreign and 12 local players or five foreign and 13 local players.
The playing XI must include a minimum of three foreign players and can include a maximum of four foreign players.
Each team has one wildcard pick this year that allows them to pick a player from the Silver category and above in any category between Gold and Platinum.