Karachi, In a significant reshuffling of player categories, nine cricketers have been upgraded in the local player category renewal process for the HBL Pakistan Super League 2024, as per the latest announcement by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The league, a flagship cricket event in Pakistan, is tentatively scheduled to run from February 8 to March 24, 2024.
According to Pakistan Cricket Board, prominent changes include Naseem Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed of Quetta Gladiators being elevated from the diamond to the platinum category. Sarfraz Ahmed has ascended to the diamond category from gold. Mohammad Haris of Peshawar Zalmi, a wicketkeeper-batter, has also been promoted to diamond from gold. In notable advancements, pace bowler Salman Irshad moves to gold from silver, while Multan Sultans fast bowlers Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah have both been raised to gold, having been emerging picks last year.
Islamabad United’s Azam Khan and Faheem Ashraf have been upgraded from gold to diamond. Additionally, Zeeshan Zamir has been moved from emerging to silver, and Mubasir Khan from emerging to gold. Karachi Kings’ Tayyab Tahir has advanced from silver to gold, with Qasim Akram being upgraded to gold from emerging. Lahore Qalandars’ Kamran Ghulam and Zaman Khan have ascended to gold from silver and emerging, respectively.
However, not all movements were upward. Some players faced demotion, including Mohammad Nawaz (Quetta, Platinum to Diamond), Mohammad Hasnain (Quetta, Diamond to Gold), Haider Ali (Karachi, Platinum to Gold) and Asif Ali (Islamabad, Platinum to Diamond). The PCB stipulates that players who have represented Pakistan internationally cannot be relegated below the gold category.
The renewal process involved franchise representatives voting for every player, with teams not allowed to vote for their own players. Review requests were submitted at the end of this voting stage. The list was then reviewed by Director – International Cricket Usman Wahla, national selection committee member Tauseef Ahmad, and Manager Partnerships Shoaib Khalid, considering factors such as national and domestic performances and perceived T20 brand value.
Franchises will now submit relegation requests for players before finalizing retentions. After these requests, teams have the opportunity to match a player’s base category. Players not matched may be relegated to a lower category.
The PCB also notes that U23 players cannot be part of a squad as an Emerging player for more than two years unless they have played nine or fewer matches in those two years.
The detailed team-wise local category player renewals highlight significant changes across all teams, reflecting the dynamic nature of player performances and market value in T20 cricket.