LAHORE: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) gears up for the last three matches in the country of its origin as Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiator’s local players arrived here on Sunday for the first eliminator to be played on March 20 at the Gaddafi Stadium. Peshawar and Quetta finished third and fourth respectively on the points table with the same points -10 apiece – but different run-rates to set an eliminator date. Gladiators’ team players partially arrived in Lahore that included all the local players, while the international players will land in Pakistan on March 19 (today).
They will miss the services of recently retired Kevin Pietersen, former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson and England opener Jason Roy as the trio refused to travel to Pakistan citing security as a serious concern.
Thus, Quetta had to sign three players and they chose to pick Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera, who was initially picked by Multan Sultans, but he did not play any match for the debutantes and hence was available for transfer. The other two players selected by Quetta include top-order Yorkshire batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore and West Indies left-hand opener Johnson Charles. They will be traveling to Lahore for the first eliminator with Chris Green, Julien Fountain and Mahamudullah, while Gadiators’ mentor Sir Viv Richards will also be arriving in Lahore on March 19.
“The local players have arrived in Lahore and will be doing a practice session before the game, while all international players will be arriving on Monday, a day before the match, and will have some participate in net practice with the team before the eliminator,” Gladiators’ media manager Nabeel Hashmi said.
Commenting on the signing of Perera he said: “We talked to the PSL player management to sign Perera as he didn’t play a single game for Multan Sultans. However, Sultans do have the first right to retain him next year, but since he didn’t play at all so we asked for him and the move was allowed.” He also informed that team owner Nadeem Omar and team management were in talks with South African Rilee Rossouw but things are not final yet.
“We want him to travel with the team. He hasn’t taken a final decision yet, but we are hopeful he will say yes,” Hashmi added.
Meanwhile, defending champions Peshawar Zalmi’s complete squad are travelling to Pakistan. Zalmi squad arrived here on Sunday morning and the team management announced that all their international players were traveling to Pakistan and will be playing in the first eliminator on Tuesday. “All International players are coming to Lahore along with the captain on Monday and will be doing a practice session in the evening,” Zalmi team manager Abdul Rehman said. He added: “All the local players have arrived and the team is optimistic to win the match as the complete squad is arriving. This has given the team much-needed confidence and we will be able to form the same type of combination in the match as we did in Dubai and Sharjah to find a spot in the second eliminator. We are confident to defend the title,” he added.