Dubai. All the six teams of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) commenced their intense training to get acclimatised to the conditions in the UAE. The third edition is set to commence from Thursday at the Dubai International Stadium with the new team Multan Sultans taking on defending champions Peshawar Zalmi in the opening match after the opening ceremony.
Peshawar began their preparation with a practice match at the International Cricket Council Academy’s Oval ground against Quetta Gladiators. A determined Quetta, led by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad, pulled off an eight runs victory to announce what is in store with them in the coming days.
Batting first, Quetta posted 130 runs in 19.4 overs. Rameez Raja Jr scored 24 runs while Saud Shakeel top scored with 36 runs off 30 balls. Sameen Gul was the pick among the Peshawar bowlers bagging four wickets for 24 runs.
Peshawar chased through opener Kamran Akmal, who cracked 50 runs before he retired out. Tight bowling from Quetta’s Mir Hamza and Rahat Ali with two wickets each resulted in Peshawar being restricted to 128 in 17.1 overs.
Among the top players that came out for practice at the ICC Academy was Lahore Qalandars captain Brendon McCullum.
Commenting on returning to lead the squad, McCullum said: “It is great to be back playing in the PSL. This is my second time here for PSL but lovely to see the third edition here. We made some very good signing up of players and so we have got some very good team. Couple of disappointing years for us and so maybe this is the year we can stand up and really show the skills and talents we have and put it all together out on the field for the people of Lahore and all the supporters of Qalandars all over the world.”
Talking about the make-up of his team, McCullum said: “I am very pleased to be with the many youngsters in the team especially Fakhar Zaman. He is going to do great thing as he is a fantastic talent and we have a great coach in Aaqib Javed. He has played a prominent role since he took up the role and for the last one year he has done wonderful things with the other support staff. Hopefully we will play well and give our best and plan to play fearless cricket and we will make our purpose worth here.”
England batsman Rikki Wessels, who has joined Peshawar Zalmi as the seventh foreign player was the centre of attraction. He is the son of former South African captain Kepler Wessels. Talking about being part of the Peshawar team, he said: “It is great to be part of a championship winning side and it was nice to get into the middle and get some practice.”
When asked about how is it to be introduced as son of the great Wessels he said: “It’s great though I am playing a format in which he hasn’t played and I feel immensely proud of my father and great to be his son. I am looking forward to the matches as defending champions we will be playing the first match and a win on the first day will be nice.”