ISLAMABAD - Lahore Qalandars made the biggest singing in the PSL-4 drafting held here Tuesday as they captured the most devastating batsman South African AB de Villiers in Platinum category.

It was expected that Qalandars, who were entitled to first pick in the draft being the last placed team in the last season, would go for the biggest name in the shortest version of the game and they did not disappoint and snared de Villiers.

The Qalandars are easily the least successful of the six PSL sides and have finished dead last in each of the first three editions of the tournament. With the first pick of the draft, the Rana Fawad-owned franchise appears to have secured the platinum category player who could ensure that they snap their run of three straight bottom finishes. In previous editions, Qalandars hired the services of globe-tottering Chris Gayle of West Indies and Brendon McCullum of New Zealand who remained successful everywhere in the world except in the PSL. So whether de Villiers would bring some good luck to the team are would be ended in smoke like the previous big guns is yet to be seen and would pose one of the greatest challenge for the South African who is at the moment displaying devastating form in South Africa’s Manzuni Super League despite being retired from the international cricket.

Pakistan’s ex-captain and all-rounder M Hafeez also joined de Villiers at Qalandars in Platinum category after ending three-year association with Peshawar Zalmi and would be a likely choice for Qalandars management to captain the side as they were yearning for top Pakistani player to lead their side. Fakhar Zaman, Anton Devcich, and Yasir Shah were amongst the players retained by Qalandars.

Australia’s ex-skipper Steve Smith, who is serving a ban from international cricket imposed on him by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball-tampering controversy, was picked by the sixth franchise, which is now unnamed following the termination of Multan Sultans contract by the PCB over failure to provide bank guarantee. Former first class cricketer and Moin Khan’s brother Nadeem Khan and Pakistan’s ex-skipper Shoaib Malik made the picks for the sixth team in absence of any owner.

Sixth team also picked super star and fan’s favourite Shahid Afridi in Platinum category. Boom Boom Afridi had joined Karachi Kings last season after spending two years with Peshawar Zalmi. Joe Denly and Nicolas Pooran were the other foreigners picked in the squad to make it a formidable looking one.

Zalmi went after Kieron Pollard, who is yet to make a mark on the PSL, in Platnum category but the biggest boost for them would be two-time PSL winner Misbahul Haq as captain cool parted ways with Islamabad United after refusing mentor role and instead joined Zalmi in Diamond category as a player. Captain Darren Sammy and Liam Dawson were the overseas retentions by the squad whereas Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, and Kamran Akmal were the local retentions. They also purchased the services of Dawid Malan.

Quetta Galdiators, after getting the services of Sunil Narine and Umar Akmal from Qalandars in blockbuster draft trade, got West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo to further strengthen their ranks. Also they gave a cricketing homecoming to Pakistan-born Australian leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed in Gold category. Fawad is an Australian citizen but was born in Pakistan, and lived there until his late 20s. He had also played first-class and competitive cricket in the country, but was forced to leave for Australia in the face of threats from the Taliban. In Australia he sought asylum, which was initially rejected but eventually accepted, and he became an Australian citizen in 2013. He has since played three ODIs and two T20Is for Australia - all in 2013 - and though he drifted out of national contention, his story has never slipped away from the public imagination. They also hired the services of Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad.

With keeping their top picks intact during the retention, there was not a top tier activity for Karachi Kings and Islamabad United.

Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Mohammad Amir, Babar Azam, and Usman Khan were five amongst the eight players retained by the Kings. During the draft, they went on to purchase the services of Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza and local hero Usman Khan Shinwari. Islamabad–based up and coming al-rounder Ali Imran was picked by the Karachi Kings in Emerging category. Ali is leaving for UAE on 23rd to represent Pakistan-A against England Lions in the limited overs.

Players like Faheem Ashraf, Luke Ronchi, and Shadab Khan, to name a few, were retained by defending champions Islamabad United. England’s Ian Bell, New Zealand’s Samit Patel, and Australia’s Cameron Delport were amongst the foreigners picked in the draft.  A total of 663 foreign and local players are available to be picked in the draft, by the six franchises. The teams had until November 13 to decide their retentions.

Title holders Islamabad United retained 10 players, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi and the ‘Sixth Team’ retained eight players each while Quetta Gladiators retained nine players.