The majority of Quetta Gladiators’ overseas contingent have opted not to travel to Lahore for the PSL final.
Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Tymal Mills all tweeted about leaving the tournament, while former New Zealand offspinner Nathan McCullum will also not travel. Rilee Rossouw, the South African batsman, had been considering playing in the final on March 5, *but he too wrote on Twitter that he was leaving the tournament. “Its with a sad heart that I must announce that i will not be taking part in the final.”
Wright, the England allrounder, tweeted: “It’s with a heavy heart I will not be coming to Lahore. I have a young family and for me a game of cricket is just not worth the risk. I’m sorry as I know how much it means to you all and hopefully in the future the safety will not be in doubt to come play there.”
Pietersen signed off from the tournament with 40 from 22 balls, as Quetta stole a one-run victory over Peshawar Zalmi, taking his tally to 241 runs. Rossouw is currently their top scorer with 255 runs at 42.50 and a strike-rate 123.18.
Mills took seven wickets from five matches, while Wright played just one match and McCullum did not feature.
One-off payments, ranging from USD 10,000 to 50,000, are being offered to foreign players should they agree to play in Lahore. That, as one foreign player considering taking part in the final pointed out, brings its own complications. “What is the difference in me playing in Lahore under a security threat and a Pakistani player doing so?” he said. “In any attack both are at risk. And physios and masseuses? A life is a life, mine or a Pakistani player’s.”
Teams who end up severely shorthanded can rope in a pool of nominated foreign players. The list, initially of 54 names, has now grown to above 60, and is said to be composed of those who were not picked in the draft last October, as well as additional names from outside the draft, who are willing to travel to Pakistan.
Each franchise will nominate five to six players from the long list and hand it to the PSL, who hope that ultimately, accounting for common names that appear in multiple lists, they have a shortlist of 12 to 15 waiting on standby to participate in the final.