BIRMINGHAM: Fifteen English cricketers will be starring in the eighth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) including some of the biggest names who have performed consistently, not only in T20 internationals and T20 leagues around the globe but also in the English domestic “T20 Blast” and “The Hundred” tournaments.
Many of them have been appearing regularly in the previous editions of the PSL. However, some of the big names who have appeared in the earlier editions will miss out on PSL 8 due to England’s Test team tour of New Zealand in February which is followed by the English team visit to Bangladesh in March for the ODI and T20 series.
The month-long tournament, which is now regarded as one of the biggest T20 cricket festivals in the world, is set to start on February 13 (today). But not all of those English players will feature for the whole tournament as some are replacing their fellow countrymen and players from other nations who are set to miss the initial few games due to their commitments with national teams.
English players who are featured in this edition of the PSL are Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Sam Billings, James Vince, Will Smeed, Moeen Ali, Tom Curran, Tymal Mills and Liam Dawson.
Jordon Cox, Richard Gleeson, Tom-Kohler Cadmore, Will Jacks, Gus Atkinson and Adam Rossington will also play in this edition.
Players like Hales, Vince, Dawson, Mills and Roy have featured many times in the earlier editions of the tournament, while Curran, Cox, Gleeson, Atkinson and Rossington are playing for the first time.
Islamabad United have signed the most English players, five in total, while Lahore Qalandars and Quetta Gladiators have three English players in their squad, each. Two English cricketers will be starring for Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings. Multan Sultans is the only team with no Englishman in their squad for this year’s tournament.
Four players are from Surrey County Cricket Club (CCC) while two players each are from Kent CCC and Hampshire CCC. One player each from Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Sussex and Somerset counties are also featuring in this year’s edition of the PSL.
Five English cricketers will feature for Islamabad United in this edition of PSL which is the most for any franchise. Top of the list is dashing England opener Alex Hales who’s picked in the Platinum category. This will be his fifth appearance in the league.
Hales from Nottinghamshire CCC has played for United in 2018, 2019, and 2021 and for Karachi Kings in 2020. He decided to skip England’s tour of Bangladesh in March this year to participate in the league. The right-handed batter has scored 355 runs at an average of 44.38 with a strike rate of 148 in the last edition of the tournament.
Other English players who will feature for Islamabad United include Moeen Ali (Warwickshire), Tymal Mills (Sussex), Tom Curran (Surrey) and Gus Atkinson (Surrey).
In 2020, Moeen played for Multan Sultans in PSL.
Tymal Mills is featuring for the fifth time in the T20 tournament. He has earlier played for Quetta Gladiators in 2017 and 2020, for Karachi Kings in 2018, and for Peshawar Zalmi in 2019.
Defending champion Lahore Qalandars have signed three English players for this year’s PSL, including Liam Dawson in the Gold category. Dawson is one of those players who have featured in earlier editions as well. Dawson from Hampshire CCC has represented Peshawar Zalmi in 2018 and 2020 and Islamabad United in 2022.
Other English cricketers in Qalandars’ squad are Sam Billings (Kent) and Jordon Cox (Kent). Billings, who was part of Islamabad United from 2016-2018, will be replacing Afghan all-rounder Rashid Khan for the initial few games.
Gladiators have retained exciting English opener Jason Roy in the Diamond category. Roy, who’s renowned for his flamboyant style of batting, played for Quetta Gladiators in 2018, 2020 and 2022 tournaments while he was part of the Lahore Qalandars squad in the 2017 edition.
Last year, Surrey CCC’s Roy started his campaign in the PSL with a bang, scoring a century in his first game of the tournament against the champions Lahore Qalandars. He smashed 116 in just 57 balls, hitting 11 fours and eight sixes and that too, against a bowling attack that included players like Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Rashid Khan.
Quetta Gladiators have also retained Will Smeed in the Silver category. Somerset’s Smeed who played for the first time in the PSL last year joined Quetta Gladiators as a last-minute replacement for opener Vince for the initial few matches which turned out to be a golden opportunity for him.
Surrey’s Will Jacks will bat for Gladiators as a replacement player for a few games. Jacks, who featured for Islamabad United in the previous edition of PSL, was also part of England’s Test squad which toured Pakistan last year making his Test debut.
Two Englishmen are featured in the Peshawar Zalmi squad in this year’s edition. Zalmi have retained Tom Kohler-Cadmore in the Silver category. Yorkshire’s Cadmore also played for Quetta Gladiators in 2018 edition of the PSL.
Lancashire’s Richard Gleeson will also join Peshawar Zalmi as a replacement.
English opener Vince has been picked by Karachi Kings in the Diamond category. Hampshire’s captain, who also led Southern Braves to victory in the inaugural edition of “The Hundred”, will be part of the PSL for the fourth time. Vince featured for Kings in 2016, Multan Sultans in 2019 and Quetta Gladiators in 2022.
The second English cricketer signed by Karachi Kings is Northamptonshire’s Adam Rossington who will be a cover for Vince.
PSL 2023 opening ceremony
The opening ceremony of PSL 2023 will be held in the Multan Cricket Stadium prior to the tournament opener between defending champions Lahore Qalandars and hosts and 2021 champions Multan Sultans today.
In total, 34 matches will be played over the period of 33 days in the tournament which will conclude on March 19 when the final will be played in Lahore.