DUBAI: The six captains of Pakistan Super League (PSL) assembled at the Dubai International Stadium to unveil the glittering crystal trophy for the third edition on Tuesday.
The colourful function was attended by all the franchise owners, Najam Sethi, the chief of PSL, title sponsor HBL’s Chief Marketing Officer Naveed Asghar and Pakistan Cricket Board officials.
The league, which takes off at Dubai International Stadium from Thursday, will shuttle between there and Sharjah Cricket Stadium before moving to Pakistan for the final stages. Lahore will stage the eliminators before the tournament concludes with the final to be held on March 25 in Karachi.
Sammy, who carried the trophy into the hall, is known for his sporting remarks and went on to say: “There is amazing talent in all the teams and I wish all the best to all the captains.” He also joked: “They are all coming for my title. I hope my team is still in the running when we get to Karachi.”
Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul Haq, captain of Islamabad United, said: “It is a great feeling being the winners of the first edition of this league. The contribution of this league to international cricket is huge. It has been two wonderful years of this tournament and all the teams are improving and hence the competition is getting tougher and tougher.
New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, who will lead the Lahore Qalandars team received huge applause when he said: “I couldn’t think of a better bunch to play against. You are an amazing country and you’ve done great things for cricket. I can’t guarantee success, but we will try our best.”
When Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmad, who leads Quetta Gladiators spoke, he too was given a huge ovation. “I hope this season goes as well as the last two. We reached the final of the PSL during the past two years but will try to win it this time. I hope to win this series in our home city of Karachi,” he said.
Multan Sultans, the new addition to the PSL, is being led by veteran cricketer Shoaib Malek. “I appreciate Sethi for conceptualising this tournament and its execution. The service this tournament has done to youngsters is enormous as it has brought many youngsters knocking at the doorsteps of the Pakistan national team. It has been great for Pakistani cricket and I appeal to everyone to clap for the team owners, sponsors and media who have played a remarkable role.”
Imad Wasim, the youngest among all the captains, will lead Karachi Kings. “It is great to be leading a team in this tournament which has done so much for everyone. It is because of this tournament we have done well in international cricket. We have showcased many talented cricketers through this tournament and I hope many more come forward and perform here.”
Pakistan’s cricket hero Shahid Afridi, who was invited by Sethi to share the dias with the captains for his contribution to the success of PSL, said: “It was a challenge for Najam Sethi to ensure that the league is a successful venture. I thank the owners of the teams for helping promote cricket in Pakistan.”
The Dubai International Stadium is busy getting ready for the colourful opening ceremony on Thursday. Legendary Sufi singer Abida Parveen and American pop star Jason Derulo and Pakistan heartthrobs Ali Zafar and Shahzad Roy will be enthralling the fans before the first match.