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Sarfraz confirms replacements for Watson, Pietersen ahead of Gladiators’ eliminator

Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Monday announced the replacements for Shane Watson and Kevin Pietersen, as both star players have refused to visit Pakistan to participate in the remaining fixtures of the ongoing PSL season.
Former Sri Lankan captain Thisara Perera and Bangladesh’s all-rounder Mahmudullah — who made a match-winning 43 off 18 balls in a thrilling game against Sri Lanka last week — will be part of the Gladiators squad for tomorrow’s eliminator against Peshawar Zalmi to be played in Lahore, the skipper announced.
Both Perera and Mahmudullah became available after the hyped and controversial Nidahas trophy ended yesterday with a last ball six by India’s Dinesh Karthik.
Quetta, who faced a major exodus during last year’s final in Lahore when all their first-choice overseas players refused to play in Lahore, will however have the services of South African left-hander Rilee Rossouw who has agreed to participate in Tuesday’s encounter at the Gaddafi Stadium after receiving a briefing from Reg Dickason, the independent security consultant whom the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had engaged to oversee security-related arrangements in Lahore and Karachi.
On Sunday, Gladiators had officially announced that their leading run-getter in the PSL, Shane Watson, and paceman Ben Laughlin will not be travelling to Pakistan for the play-offs.
Watson, the 36-year-old Australian all-rounder, and Laughlin joined former England captain Kevin Pietersen and the current England limited-overs opener Jason Roy who had earlier pulled out of the Pakistan leg.
Quetta will surely miss these stars when it faces defending champions Peshawar Zalmi in Lahore in Tuesday’s first eliminator in Lahore.
Thisara Perera has been granted special permission to play for Sarfraz Ahmed-led side as he was originally picked by Multan Sultans but did not play a single match for the newest franchise. Moreover, Quetta have signed up West Indies opener Johnson Charles and Tom-Kohler Cadmore, the 23-year-old right-handed batsman who plays for English county team Yorkshire.
Earlier on Saturday, the owner of Quetta Gladiators had expressed displeasure after his franchise’s foreign players refused to travel to Pakistan to take part in the playoffs.
The owner of two-time losing finalists Quetta Gladiators, Nadeem Omer, said: “It happens every time, we cannot convince foreign players to travel to Pakistan.”
He asked PCB to include only those foreign players in future drafts who are willing to travel to Pakistan.
While announcing the replacements, Sarfraz also backed this statement and asked PCB to take this suggestion into consideration.
He, however, hoped that this time the local players will win in big for Gladiators.
On the other hand, Peshawar will be at full-strength for the Quetta clash after their franchise owner Javed Afridi confirmed that all their foreign players barring Dwayne Smith would travel to Pakistan.
“As was the case last year, this year too our overseas players will travel to Pakistan for the playoffs,” Afridi posted on his Twitter account.
Smith, the West Indies batsman, has pulled out due to family reasons.