By Obaid ur Rehman.
Inaugural edition of PSL 2016 has been a terrific one for cricket of Pakistan as the country saw its very own international cricket league introduced in the world. Known as ‘Pakistan Super League’, the tournament was conducted in February in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Five franchises representing the major cities of Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad, Quetta and Lahore came together with a well packed squad to compete for the maiden PSL trophy.
Many international T20 players were included in the tournament like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Andre Russell, Shane Watson, Grant Eliott and Shakib-al-Hassan, who competed for different teams. Apart from that, the local talented players too made their contribution brilliantly, as Umar Akmal and Sharjeel Khan were the ones who were the leading run-scorers and Wahab Riaz and Muhammad Sami were in a group of leading wicket takers.
Despite finishing at the third place in the points table, it was Islamabad United who finally won the tournament and produced unexpected results. Islamabad United was led by Pakistan’s best Test Captain Misbah-ul-Haq with former Australian great Dean Jones as the Head Coach and world greatest bowler Wasim Akram as their mentor. Before the start of PSL, Quetta Gladiators were not at all favourites but their magnificent game plans and their excellent execution led them to final where they lost to Islamabad United in an epic battle. Peshawar Zalmi also remained competing throughout the tournament whereas Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars had a disappointing debut and failed to impress in the first edition of PSL.
The second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is scheduled to begin in Feb 2017 in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The drafts for second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) have held recently in which a lot of changes have been made and new players have been introduced for the second edition of PSL. Lahore Qalandars have decided to give captaincy to Brendon McCullum. Shahid Afridi has also announced that West Indies star and two times World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy will lead Peshawar Zalmi whereas Shoaib Malik of Karachi Kings has also handed over the captaincy to Kumar Sangakara.
The Karachi Kings have picked up Chris Gayle, a massive hitter of ball in the team along with Mahela Jayawerdena, Kumar Sangakara, Ryan McLaren and Babar Azam and others as new players. Karachi Kings have gone to retain Shoaib Malik, Ravi Boppara, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Shahzeb Hassan, Sohail Khan and Saifullah Bangash after having played in the previous season for the same team. Lahore Qalandars have picked up ex Kiwi skipper and star wicket-keeper batsman Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, Anton Devcich, Grant Elliot and few others as new players whereas they have kept Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo, Yasir Shah, Cameron Delport and Azhar Ali in the team.
Peshawar Zalmi have included England’s ODI Captain Eoin Morgan, Alex Hales, Shakib Al-Hassan, Sohaib Maqsood and few others as new players in the side whereas few big names like Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy and Wahab Riaz have been retained in the zalmi-squad. Carlos Brathwaite and David Willey got included in Quetta Gladiators and Ben Duckett has been picked up by Islamabad United as new players in the respective sides. Kevin Pietersen, Sarfraz Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Luke Wright, Shane Watson, Andre Russell, Samuel Badree, Dwayne Smith, Brad Haddin and Sam Billings have been retained in their respective sides.
We know that there has been no home cricket in Pakistan for about seven years and also our cricket has declined rapidly in last one year as well. With the PSL gaining its heights, our players have now got a chance to play with the superstars and to share dressing room environment with them, which will surely boost up their moral and will have a lot for them to learn from. Pakistan has a strong cricket background and heritage as well and keeps on producing star players for the country. Having our own cricket league in the form of PSL, will surely pave the way for our players and youngsters to extract their talent, prove their class and serve their country,
One of the beautiful and impressive aspects of PSL is that this league is completely pure from all kinds of fixing stuff and other bad aspects. Crystal clear first edition of PSL has proved that unlike Indian Premier League (IPL) which is considered to be the massive hub of fixing, PSL is free from all kinds of these odds. PCB and PSL managements have ensured that PSL will remain free from all kinds of betting and fixing.
With the Final of PSL 2017 to be held in Lahore, comes great news to fans in Pakistan as after many years, Pakistani nation would be able to see the international starts in front of them playing on Pakistan’s soil. That would be an extremely efficient move to contest the PSL Final in Lahore so that more force could be applied to open the gates for revival of international cricket in Pakistan.
The writer is Islamabad based Journalist / Research Analyst and writes on Politics, Current Affairs, Social Issues and Sports. He can be reached at;