PSL replacement Draft 2019: Multan Sultans pick Andre Russell, James Vince   

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PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – AUGUST 10: In this handout image provided by CPL T20, Andre Russell captain of Jamaica Tallawahs reaches 100 runs during the Hero Caribbean Premier League match between Trinbago Knight Riders and Jamaica Tallawahs at Queen’s Park Oval on August 10, 2018 in Port of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago. (Photo by Ashley Allen – CPL T20/Getty Images)

LAHORE: Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Multan Sultans on Thursday picked West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell as a replacement for Australian batsman Steve Smith during the player replacement draft.

Russell previously turned out for two-time Champions Islamabad United. During the inaugural season in 2016, he was the highest-wicket taker in the tournament with 16 scalps in 10 matches. In the last season, he picked up four wickets in as many matches. He was let go by the franchise ahead of the player draft in November last year. Russell is joined by veteran T20 players in Shoaib Malik, the captain of Sultans, and Shahid Afridi.

Sultans made another change in their squad as they replaced Joe Denly with an in-form James Vince, who smashed two back to back fifties for Sydney Sixers in the ongoing Big Bash League.

Dwayne Smith, who has 679 runs in the PSL while turning out for Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in the previous editions, was picked up by Quetta Gladiators to cover for DJ Bravo who will be available from February 27 onwards. Lahore Qalandars picked Hardus Viljoen and David Wiese to cover for the partial availability of AB de Villiers (available for only group matches), Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson.

Andre Fletcher was again picked by Peshawar Zalmi after he managed just 86 runs in five matches last season. He replaced Afghanistan’s Waqar Salamkheil who has national commitments.

“It is great to have Andre Fletcher back since he is not only a good player but a true sportsman off the field as well. He is known to be someone who keeps the dugout atmosphere entertaining and we are super excited to have him back with us,” Zalmi’s Director Cricketing Affairs and head coach Mohammad Akram said.

The PCB allowed each of the six teams to pick one additional local player in the 20-man squad during the draft. Hammad Azam, 27, who averages 22 and 24 with the bat and ball respectively was picked by the Sultans. Middle-order batsman Saad Ali – who scored 183 runs at a staggering average of 91.5 in the National T20 Cup in December and was previously with Quetta Gladiators – was picked by Lahore Qalandars. Mohammad Irfan Jr. and left-arm spinner Umer Khan were picked by Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings respectively. Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United are yet to submit their squad extension picks.

PSL 2019 edition will begin from February 14 with defending champions Islamabad United taking on Lahore Qalandars at Dubai. This year, Abu Dhabi will also host the tournament before the tournament moves to Pakistan for the last eight matches. Lahore will host three and Karachi will host five matches, including the final.

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