There is always a Jofra tweet: PSL Draft Edition
You know how they say there is always a Jofra Archer tweet?
Jofra Archer. And PSL. No, he is not coming to PSL. But is there ever any cricket without him? Is there any occurrence in present-day cricket that does not have a Jofra Archer tweet from the past to complement it? The greatest account on X, the most important digital archive that has a tweet to explain everything cricket ever.
I use this invaluable resource today to quickly review the highlights of the PSL 9 draft for each of the six franchises. (Yes, of course, he had tweets to explain this draft.)
But before we get to that, here is a Jofra Archer tweet to sum up the trades and retentions window that preceded this draft:
With the whole Naseem Shah saga, Islamabad United trading out their platinum pick from a couple of years ago, Karachi Kings letting go of their captain, and Multan Sultans trading Rilee Rossouw, this season’s trade window was indeed the most exciting one so far. Some blockbuster trades coupled with availability issues of a lot of regular foreign players meant most teams ended up going into the draft carrying little and looking for a lot.
A short, to-the-point recap of how the draft went for each team, as once tweeted by Jofra Archer and researched and dug out by me, is as follows:
Peshawar Zalmi went into the draft as a batting-heavy side with close to no bowlers. Their bowling had looked weak last season, too, and coming into this draft, they had decided not to retain most of their bowlers, aiming to start fresh in that department. Looking at how their squad stacks up now, it is safe to say they did well in assembling a more than decent bowling line-up covering most bases.
Excuse them. Let them do whatever they were trying to do in the draft (which was not all that bad, by the way). This is a team that is going through a massive rebuilding phase. They traded their captain, let go of the leader of their bowling attack since the inaugural PSL season, and have a new face heading the management, so excuse them. They are hoping to get rid of some old taints as they try to build a new core, a new-look team. So allow them to do whatever they want to do. Don’t mind them. Let them be. Let them figure it out this season.
One Shah brother? Good, but not enough. Okay, how about two? Nope, still not enough. Three? Yes, they’ll have all three of them. Islamabad United already pulled off a massive trade with Quetta Gladiators when they acquired Naseem Shah in the trade window. But going into the draft, they weren’t fully satisfied, apparently. Because in the draft, they picked his brother, Hunain Shah, and because family is important and because the Shah bloodline is so talented, they went on to pick his other brother, Ubaid Shah, too! If all goes well, they have sorted their fast bowling for years to come. Farewell, Islamabad United bowling jokes. They were fun while they lasted.
This is another franchise that has gone through a lot of changes, albeit forced. Along with a change in the people owning, running, and managing the franchise, they have had to readjust their entire squad to deal with the void created by players that were either traded out in exchange for important picks in the draft (they let go of Rilee Rossouw!) or were not available this season. With new names coming in to replace their old best mates, this looks like a season of making new friends for them.
This is a team that has seen the most remarkable change of fortunes in the last two seasons, having won back-to-back trophies after being the only team to not have won a single trophy in the first six seasons. This is a team that is, perhaps, now eyeing a three-peat. Some of their draft picks, however, do little to support the aim. A lot might be relying on Fakhar and their local lot of fast bowlers. The third championship might still become a possibility when the actual games begin, but what we know for now is they definitely did not win the draft this year.
Exactly. Why do Quetta Gladiators think this might actually work? This team has not played a playoff since 2019 – the year they won. And now they have lost two of their main players, including one of the country’s top T20 players and a future captaincy candidate. But this is a team struggling to identify (or rather accept) what needs rectification. A couple of big trades have seen Rilee, Abrar Ahmed, and Wasim Jr. join their squad, and they look to be hoping for a different result this time under the same leadership.
All in all, the PSL 9 draft had everything. Surprise picks, drama, and mind-boggling calls from franchises. As it stands now, almost all the teams have had some big changes, so when the ninth season of the Pakistan Super League finally rolls around, it will be fun to see how the games play out. Here is to a new season, new beginnings, and new chapters.