International Cricket

PSL 2024 – Rossouw replaces Safaraz as Quetta Gladiators captain

Even so, Sarfaraz was officially named captain for the ninth season at the PSL draft in December. As recently as Tuesday morning, Sarfaraz stood alongside the captains of the other five franchises at the unveiling of the PSL trophy in Lahore.
ESPNcricinfo understands Shane Watson, the franchise’s new head coach, was sounded out on his opinion, and that the new backroom staff believed in making a captaincy change. Gladiators had deliberated on whether Saud or Rossouw would get the nod, but Rossouw’s vast PSL experience and pedigree appears to have won over.
No overseas player has scored more runs in the tournament’s history, his aggregate of 1867 coming at a strike rate of 146.54. He spent three highly successful seasons at Quetta Gladiators from 2017-2019, playing two finals and winning the title with the franchise in 2019.

He enjoyed another successful stint with Multan Sultans over the following four seasons: the franchise reached three finals and won the title in 2020, with Rossouw scoring a 21-ball half century in the final.

The franchise has already reshuffled their backroom staff, most notably with Moin Khan moving on from head coach to a directorship role. He has been replaced by Watson, a former Gladiators player. Former Pakistan bowling coach Shaun Tait has also been appointed as the side’s fast-bowling coach as Gladiators look to turn around their fortunes: they have gone from being the most consistent PSL side to the most underperforming over the past four years.

Franchise owner Nadeem Omar had spoken openly about the possibility of removing Sarfaraz, saying on the Relukattay podcast it would “be nicer” if Sarfaraz handed the captaincy over on his own.

“It is the elephant in the room,” Omar said. “Wherever I go, people ask me this. But our franchise is a bit different from the others in the sense that we have a very intimate relationship with these players. I understand cricketers have a shelf life, but I think over Pakistan history, we tend to dump players unceremoniously.

“Sarfaraz has been off the boil over the last couple of years. There are a lot of reasons for that – the way he was unceremoniously ousted by the PCB didn’t help, especially when he had a few more years. We won’t dump him unceremoniously. We haven’t decided yet, but we’ll give him full honours. Sarfaraz told me he would be happy to step aside if Quetta wants to make a change. We have a call with Shane Watson in a couple of days, and then we’ll decide.”

Sarfaraz, 36, was appointed Gladiators captain when the league was inaugurated in 2016, and led his side to the final. Weeks later, he was appointed Pakistan’s white-ball captain, and led the national side to the 2017 Champions Trophy title. He led Gladiators to the PSL title in 2019, but fading form saw him sacked as Pakistan captain from all three formats within a year, and he was dropped from the national side.

But Gladiators’ form has fallen away dramatically since. They have missed qualifying for the playoffs the last four years, and finished bottom or second from bottom each time.

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