All-rounder replaces wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara as the leader of the pack

Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Karachi Kings have named Imad Wasim captain for the third edition of the cash-rich T20 league, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates in February next year.

The 28-year-old replaced former Sri Lankan legendary wicket-keeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara as the leader of the pack. Imad, who made his debut for the Men in Green in 2015, has already represented the national team in 30 ODIs and 25 T20Is, where he collectively scored 552 runs and claimed 55 wickets but is yet to represent Pakistan in the longest format of the game.

The move comes as a surprise especially after it was expected that former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi, who joined the franchise from Peshawar Zalmi will replace Sangakkara to lead the side. The Swansea-born all-rounder in two previous editions has represented Kings in 18 matches, where he claimed 12 wickets and scored 131 runs.

Imad is being long seen as the future leader from an early age, as he already has the experience of leading Pakistan in the Under-19 World Cup as well as different teams in the domestic circuit.  Kings, who were the most expensive franchise before the arrival of Multan Sultan – the sixth team in the tournament – had below-par performances in both of the previous two editions.

In the first edition, the team which was first led by veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and then by Englishman Ravi Bopara in the later stages of the 2016 edition, managed to win just two matches out of nine. In the second edition, however, the team managed a better show but was once again fell short of the spot in the final after being eliminated by eventual winners – Peshawar Zalmi.

Following two consecutive poor seasons, Kings released as many as nine players from the previous squad which included Malik, Sangakkara and the explosive West Indian duo of Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard.  The list also included pacers Rahat Ali, Kashif Bhatti, former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene and South African all-rounder Ryan McLaren.


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