THREE Somerset cricketers are gearing up for the start of the Pakistan Super League this coming weekend.

Club captain Tom Abell, who reached the Abu Dhabi T10 final with Delhi Bulls earlier this month, lines up for Lahore Qalanders, who have also signed Joe Denly and Samit Patel, as well as Fakhar Zaman - who was due to join Somerset in 2017, only for him to be recalled by Pakistan for international duty.

Another player who was involved in Abu Dhabi, Tom Banton, is in the Quetta Gladiators squad, as is fellow big-hitting batsman Chris Gayle, a Somerset overseas signing in 2015 and 2016.

And Lewis Gregory, Somerset’s T20 skipper, goes from playing in the Big Bash League in Australia to joining Islamabad United for this tournament, alongside Alex Hales and Chris Jordan.

The sixth edition of the T20 tournament begins tomorrow (February 20), when defending champions Karachi Kings play Quetta Gladiators.

After a double round robin stage involving the six participating teams, the top four sides progress to the play-offs, with the final to take place in Lahore on March 22.

Fans in the UK can watch the competition on Sky Sports.


THE Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction took place yesterday, but there was no luck for Lewis Gregory in gaining a lucrative contract.

All eight teams had hit their limit for overseas players before it was Gregory's turn to come up for auction, with South African all-rounder Chris Morris setting a new IPL record after being picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 16.25 crore ($2.2 million).

It means that Gregory should be available for Somerset in April and May, when the IPL is due to take place.

Corey Anderson, the New Zealand all-rounder who played for Somerset in 2017 and 2018, went unsold, as did Australian batsman Matthew Wade.

Anderson and Wade were both in line to join Somerset in the 2020 season, only for Wade to be ruled out by a knee injury and Anderson to have his contract cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kolkata Knight Riders announced last month that they had chosen to release Tom Banton, and the young Somerset batsman opted not to register himself for the 2021 competition.

Former Somerset star Jos Buttler was retained by Rajasthan Royals, who have also secured the services of Buttler's fellow Englishmen Jofra Archer, Liam Livingstone and Ben Stokes.

Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Philippe, who played for Taunton Cricket Club in 2016 before going on to win back-to-back Big Bash League titles with Sydney Sixers, was retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore, whose squad also features AB de Villiers, Kyle Jamieson, Virat Kohli and Glenn Maxwell.