Captains during the trophy unveiling of HBL Pakistan Super League at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Tuesday. Image Credit: Atiq Ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: The HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 Trophy was unveiled at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday before the six team captains in the presence of Ehsan Mani, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, sponsors, team owners and coaches.

After Mani addressed the huge gathering on the impact the PSL has had on Pakistan cricket over the years, each of the team captains spoke about their chances to win the coveted trophy.

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Mohammad Sami, the captain of defending Champions Islamabad United, said: “It is big responsibility to lead the champions but at the same time a great honour. We had success last year and we will try out best to entertain the fans. I will try to guide the side to its second consecutive title.”

Islamabad defeated Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets in the 2018 PSL final held in Karachi.

Darren Sammy, who will again lead Zalmi, added: “My players are excited for the competition and the team is raring to go in the fourth edition. Hopefully we will play again in the final. Every team has a well-balanced squad, especially Lahore Qalandars, but we won’t go down without a fight.”

Karachi Kings’ Emad Wasim is confident that his team will perform to their potential. “Last year, it was a bit tough as the team got involved in injuries,” he said. “However, this time we would try to change the tide.” Referring to the presence of legendary pacer Wasim Akram as the team’s president, Emad added: “I did not take part in the entire tournament last year due to injury but hopefully, under leadership of Wasim Akram, we will fulfil the dream of winning the title this year.”

Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmad, who is also the captain of the Pakistan team, said: “Momentum is very important in T20 tournaments so we would try and build that momentum from the first game. We have come close to winning the title in the previous editions but hopefully we will go one step further and win the title this year. The PSL has made a huge difference. It has produced a lot of good cricketers such as Hassan Ali, Rumman Raees and Shadab Khan. This should continue, and more and more matches should be played in Pakistan.”

Multan Sultans skipper Shoaib Malek was at his sporting best when he said: “I would like to wish all the team owners and captains best of luck. Last year we expected to make the play-offs but couldn’t. We actually started the tournament well but lack of consistency hampered our campaign. We will try not to repeat the same mistakes this year. A lot depends on how you perform in the first few matches. Let’s see how the players perform and stay consistent so the team does well and goes deep into the tournament.”

Lahore captain Mohammad Hafeez, known as the Professor, said: “We have a good team. We’re looking forward to the challenge. This is an exciting time for me because I am leading a very talented bunch of cricketers. We have reworked our strategy this year and we are confident that if we play our natural game, and enjoy each moment of the tournament, we will do well.”

Image Credit: Gulf News

PSL is an inspiration for youngsters

Dubai: Ehsan Mani, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, has praised the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for its role in getting youth involved in the game.

Answering a query from Gulf News on how the league has boosted Pakistan cricket, Mani said: “It is a great inspiration for the young cricketers. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to show their skills and play alongside some of the greatest cricketers in the world. There cannot be a better opportunity than this.”

Mani then went on to say that the PSL’s journey over the years has been special. “It has been a happy and spectacular journey,” he said. “It has been possible due to the support of the fans around the world, the sponsors and cricketers who produced their magic. The PSL has become a national pride for Pakistan. This is one big brand for Pakistan. The PSL also gives an opportunity for our cricketers to perform at a top level. We look forward to seeing a competitive tournament with a galaxy of international and Pakistan stars showcasing their talent.”

Talking about the colourful trophy created by Swarovski with over 50,000 crystals, Mani said: “It celebrates the different cultures of Pakistan and the harmony with which they stand together to call the country home. It is the visual representation of the Pakistani flag and its sparkling beauty. The green and white unite the many colours of this land under one flag.”