• Qalandars line up AB or Smith

    South African batsman AB de Villiers will possibly be selected by the Lahore Qalandars at Tuesday’s player draft for the 2019 Pakistan Super League.

    De Villiers, who has retired from international cricket and is currently playing for the Tshwane Spartans in the inaugural Mzansi Super League, made himself available for the Pakistan tournament earlier this year.

    Former Australia captain Steven Smith, who is serving a ban from Test, ODI and T20I competition for ball-tampering, is also available to the Qalandars, who will have first choice at the draft in Islamabad.

    ‘My heart goes with ABD, but my brain is stuck with Smith, so I will take my time to decide who we should go with,’ Qalandars chief executive officer Sameen Rana told ESPNcricinfo.

    ‘It’s a first pick again, and very much important, as always. I know every team must be eyeing one of those two, and have their calculations. We have two picks in first round, and this is very crucial for us. We are weighing up all the options, and we are also looking for a captain and having a local is the best way forward this time.’

    The Qalandars’ previous PSL campaigns were marred by injury, with Australian pair Chris Lynn and Shaun Tait, West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, New Zealand batsman Anton Devcich and Pakistani Sohail Khan all sidelined at some stage.

    ‘We went with some big names in every season, but each time our decision backfired. We couldn’t resist, and when you have the first pick of the draft you just go with the temptation of big names,’ added Rana.

    ‘But after three seasons, we have realised and have had a lot of learning. That’s why I am giving it a second thought, either to pick ABD, who has achieved everything in his career, or Smith, who is ambitious about his career to stay relevant.’

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