Babar Azam will replace Wahab Riaz as Peshawar Zalmi’s captain for the upcoming season of the Pakistan Super League. After trading in Babar from Karachi Kings in exchange for Shoaib Malik and Haider Ali, the franchise continues a transformation that started in 2021 in the hope to form a new core.
Zalmi won the title in 2017 and have had a consistent run since, making the finals in 2018, 2019, and 2021 and the eliminator in 2020 and 2022. Wahab has been a stalwart for the team. He is the league’s leading wicket-taker and was retained by the franchise. But at 37 years old, his impact on the field isn’t what it used to be. Earlier this year, he was demoted from the platinum to diamond category of PSL players. Akmal, 40, has been released.
Zalmi are in the market for 11 players in the PSL draft on December 15 in Karachi. They have already brought in hard-hitting batter Mohammad Haris along with Babar, and retained Sherfane Rutherford, Aamir Jamal (Brand Ambassador), Salman Irshad and Tom-Kohler Cadmore.
For Babar, the PSL journey started with Islamabad United in the inaugural edition in 2016 but he was ignored after two games. Since the following year, he represented Karachi Kings and bossed the charts with an average 43.60 and a strike rate of 121.97 on his way to become the tournament’s highest scorer, racking up 2413 runs in 68 matches. However, his relationship with the franchise started to sour and the team slumped to the bottom under his captaincy, losing nine out of ten games. Kings will be led by Imad Wasim now.

PSL 2023 will be played between February 9 and March 19. Four venues – Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi, and Multan – will host the matches, going up from two – Lahore and Karachi – in the previous two seasons, due to Covid-19.


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