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Multan Sultans replace Smith with Russel

LAHORE: Multan Sultans replaced injured former Australian captain Steve Smith with West Indies all-rounder Andre Russel in the replacement draft of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held on Thursday.

The Sultans also scooped England batsman James Vince to replace his fellow countryman Joe Denly, who will be on national duty in the West Indies.

Russel’s compatriots Dwayne Smith and Andre Fletcher will also be involved in the upcoming season with the former being drafted in by Quetta Gladiators and the latter by Peshawar Zalmi.

Lahore Qalandars, meanwhile, have brought in South African duo of Hardus Viljeon and David Weise.

Russel played for Islamabad United last season and will be available for the Sultans for the first seven matches in the United Arab Emirates and will not take part in the Pakistan leg.

Vince will give Sultans options at the top of the order and will be looking to replicate the form that saw him score back-to-back half-centuries for Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League in Australia.

“We had to deal with the double blow of losing out on Steve Smith and Joe Denly, but we are delighted that we have been able to bring in Andre Russell and James Vince,” said Sultans captain Shoaib

Malik. “Russell is one of the best T20 cricketers in the world and we are confident that he will bring his match-winning instinct to our dressing room this season.”

The Gladiators added Smith — who has formerly featured for United and Zalmi — as cover for his countryman Dwayne Bravo from February 14 to 27 while Fletcher comes into the Zalmi side in place of Waqar Salamkheil, who has withdrawn due to his Afghanistan commitments.

Qalandars’ two South African signings have come as cover for New Zealand’s Corey Anderson and West Indian Carlos Brathwaite.

Anderson will arrive late due to domestic commitments, while Brathwaite is expected to be a part of the West Indies squad for the T20 series against England. The Qalandars will also have star signing A.B. de Villiers available till March 10.

In a bid to encourage local talent, four of the six franchises also named local players to their squads. Qalandars picked middle-order batsman Saad Ali, Sultans drafted all-rounder Hammad Azam, Gladiators brought in paceman Mohammad Irfan Junior while the Karachi Kings have selected spinner Umer Khan.

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