Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Karachi Kings has found itself in a catch-22 situation after its platinum category player Babar Azam opposed the franchise’s decision to relegate him to the diamond category.
According to sources, Azam withdrew the initial request submitted by the franchise to relegate him and said that he wants to remain in the platinum category.
“Karachi Kings had submitted a relegation request for Babar Azam to be part of the diamond category, however, Azam has withdrawn the request stating that he would like to remain in the platinum category,” the source said.
Further, the source said, the young batsman felt degraded after Kings’s request regarding his relegations as he is currently the number one batsman in the shortest format of the game.
This has now put the Kings in a conundrum as far as retention in platinum categories is concerned.
Kings platinum players now include Azam, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Colin Ingram and Colin Munro, with the team being allowed to retain three players from the list, including one foreign player.
Karachi floated a relegation request for Babar and Quetta showed interest and wanted to pick him in his base category (Platinum). For some unknown reasons, Quetta later withdrew the matching offer.
Babar then informed PSL that he wanted to be placed in his base category of Platinum. As a result, he can now be retained, traded or released by Karachi in Platinum.
If Babar is released, which is highly likely, and goes back to the draft, he will be one of the most sought-after candidates as he is number one batsman in the ICC T20 Rankings and recently became the fastest to 1000 runs in T20I history.
Babar played only two games in the first edition of the PSL yet he has scored 708 runs at 33.71 and is the second highest run-getter in the tournament history – only behind his cousin Kamran Akmal (929).
If Azam agreed to the relegation, it would have become easier for Karachi Kings to retain him along with Aamir, Afridi and a foreign player in the roster.
The deadline for relegation request has passed leaving the King no chance for another request unless the Pakistan Cricket Board allows.
Teams have time till November 13th to confirm their retention before a final list for the players draft is released.
PSL returns to action on February 14, 2019.