Islamabad United Preview
Last Season's Performance
Islamabad United are the defending Champions of the Pakistan Super League, having won the final last year in Karachi. They played 12 games in the last season, including a final. They won 8 of those games.
United's Luke Ronchi made 435 runs in the last season, his first ever in the PSL. He finished as the top scorer of the league, making 5 fifties with a highest of 94*
United's Faheem Ashraf finished with 18 wickets in 12 games last season. This was also his first ever season. He finished as the joint-top wicket taker with Zalmi's Wahab Riaz, who played 13 games.
Having won 2 titles, and 20 out of their 32 games so far, Islamabad are the most successful team in PSL history.
Prior to the PSL Draft, Islamabad United announced that former captain Misbah-Ul-Haq would not enter the draft as a player, and would instead be a part of the United coaching staff. However, Misbah then decided to enter the draft as a player and was picked up by Peshawar Zalmi.
Ahead of the 2019 season, Islamabad United unveiled a new playing kit.
They also announced fast bowler Mohammad Sami as the new captain and Shadab Khan as the new vice-captain. It will be interesting to see Islamabad under Mohammad Sami's leadership after having Misbah-ul-Haq as captain for the better part of 3 seasons.
According to the rules, teams could retain upto 13 players across all the categories.
3 from the Platinum
3 from Diamond
2 from Gold
4 from Silver
1 from Emerging
Islamabad United retained:
Platinum : Luke Ronchi, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf
Diamond : Asif Ali, Mohammad Sami
Gold : Rumman Raees
Silver : Hussain Talat, Waqas Maqsood, Sahibzada Farhan, Zafar Gohar
Emerging : N/A
The PSL Draft for the 2019 season was held at 20th November 2018 in Islamabad.
Each team had to complete their main squad of 16 players, in addition to four supplementary players.
Islamabad United, having already retained 10 players, needed to pick 1 player in the Diamond Category, 2 in Gold, 1 in Silver and 2 in the Emerging Category.
In the Diamond round, Islamabad United picked, perhaps surprisingly, Ian Bell of England.
According to the team management, the thought process behind this was to replace the unavailable JP Duminy with a like for like batsman.
In the Gold category, Islamabad chose Samit Patel, who had represented the team since the first PSL, and could not be retained at first.
The second pick was Phil Salt, the wicketkeeper batsman from Sussex. This will be his first PSL, although he represented Qalandars in the Abu Dhabi T20 and in Australia for the Player Development Programme.
Cameron Delport of South Africa was the only pick in the Silver category. Delport previously represented Lahore Qalandars.
In the emerging category, the Pakistan U19 fast bowler Mohammad Musa was selected along with big hitter Nasir Nawaz.
In the supplementary category, South African fast bowler Wayne Parnell, Afghanistan spinner Zahir Khan, rookie opening batsman Rizwan Hussain and talented all-rounder Amad Butt were selected.
SQUAD FOR 2019
Batsmen: Sahibzada Farhan, Ian Bell (England), Asif Ali, Nasir Nawaz, Rizwan Hussain
All-Rounders: Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Cameron Delport(South Africa), Hussain Talat, Samit Patel ( England), Amad Butt, Wayne Parnell (South Africa)
Wicket keepers: Luke Ronchi (New Zealand), Phil Salt (Wales)
Fast bowlers: Mohammad Sami, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Musa, Rumman Raees
Spinners: Zahir Khan (Afghanistan), Zafar Gohar
Best possible XI
Luke Ronchi (WK)
Shadab Khan (VC)
Mohammad Sami (C)
Written by Arham Tufail
You can find out more about him on his Twitter profile here.