PSL finalists to pick foreign players from pool
Quetta Gladiators and the winners of the third playoff, a virtual semi-final between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings, will pick from a pool of approximately 12 foreign players to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore on Sunday.
The pool was created from the nominations of each franchise - and subsequently whittled down - to cover for the absence of contracted foreign players, who are unwilling to travel to Lahore over security worries.
How many are picked from the list - which includes players from Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe, England and West Indies - will depend on which team - Karachi or Peshawar - make it to the final.
None of Quetta's contracted foreign players will be traveling to Lahore, so they can pick up to five from the list. As many as four of Peshawar Zalmi's foreign contingent may be willing to travel to Lahore, which will come as good news to organisers and fans. If that is the case, they may not even have to pick a name from the list.
Though reports have suggested that all five of Peshawar's foreign players are willing to go to Lahore, ESPNcricinfo understands that the best case scenario is four going: captain Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Chris Jordan and Dawid Malan. The fifth, Samit Patel, has not been given an NOC by his county Nottinghamshire, and will not travel to Lahore. None of the players have publicly committed to traveling; in an interview with Geo TV last week Jordan chose not to comment when asked if he would travel.
If Karachi win though, they will need to pick a number of players. As it stands, only Ravi Bopara from their foreign contingent is going to Lahore, having tweeted his indication to do so before the game. Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Ryan McLaren will not travel.
Should Karachi win, organisers as well as franchises will have to face up to the prospect of playing the final with a vastly different side to the one that made it through the league and knockout stages. Names within the pool include Bangladesh's Anamul Haque, South Africans Morne van Wyk and Richard Levi, as well as Sean Ervine and Graeme Cremer from Zimbabwe.
The final names will only become apparent after the game between Peshawar and Karachi. There is one name on the list that both Quetta and Karachi had nominated. In case both sides want that player at the end of tonight's game, a coin toss will determine who gets first pick. If Peshawar win, there are no conflicts with Quetta.
Most of the players in the pool have already secured visas to travel, and those currently without one should be able to procure them by the time they travel to Lahore. It is expected that the foreign players who are traveling will not be staying in the city overnight, flying in and out on the same day.
Osman Samiuddin is a senior editor at ESPNcricinfo