Sun, 08 Dec 2019

AB de Villiers will be released from the Lahore Qalandars roster ahead of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Draft, with ESPNcricinfo learning that "managing workload" is the reason for the South African superstar reconsidering his plans.

De Villiers hasn't played representative cricket since turning out for Middlesex in England's Vitality Blast T20 tournament in September, and is expected to play in the Big Bash League for Brisbane Heat and then in the IPL, where he is on Royal Challengers Bangalore's rolls. For the Heat, de Villiers will be available for the second half of the tournament, after Christmas.

When asked about opting out of the PSL - the PCB is pushing for the entire season to be played in Pakistan this time - de Villiers said, "Just managing workload. On-off as much as possible."

The PSL Draft will be held on December 5, with the six franchises given until December 1 to finalise their retentions (up to eight players) and trade picks.

De Villiers was picked up by the Qalandars last season for seven games in the UAE and two in Pakistan, but he didn't turn up for the Pakistan leg because of a back injury.

His presence at the PSL last season, at a time when the PCB has been trying its best to attract big players and top teams to their neck of the woods, was hugely celebrated, and he responded well, scoring 218 runs at an average of 54.50 and strike rate of 128.99 from seven games. Qalandars, however, finished bottom of the table; they have been among the bottom two on each of the four seasons so far.

Curiously, Qalandars have a history of picking big names, sometimes the biggest on offer, but it hasn't quiet reflected in their results. They have been unfortunate too. If Chris Gayle had a poor run with them in the first season, in 2016, Yasir Shah was banned for testing positive for a banned substance the same year.

At various points, players of the calibre of Mustafizur Rahman, Chris Lynn, Shaun Tait, Dwayne Bravo and Anton Devcich have opted out because of injuries, and last season, their captain Mohammad Hafeez injured his hand in the second game, leaving them in a crisis they couldn't get out of, despite de Villiers' efforts.

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