LAHORE: The second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was officially launched at a colourful function attended by team captains, owners, coaches and PSL’s top officials at the Dubai International Stadium on Monday. In front of a packed hall, the new glittering trophy, which will be known as the ‘Spirit Trophy’ made of innovative Crystal Fine Rocks (it uses over 50,000 double pointed crystals from Swarovski) was unveiled by team captains Misbah UL Haq, Brendon McCullum, Darren Sammy, Sarfraz Ahmad and Kumar Sangakkara in the presence of Najam Sethi, Chairman PSL, Rameez Raja, Brand Ambassador of PSL and Andrew Mojica, Managing Director Swarovski Middle East. At the pinnacle of the trophy is the Shooting Star, a multi-faceted crystal sculpture made with precision-cut technology. Huge applause accompanied the unveiling of the beautiful trophy. The tournament, which will be known as HBL PSL 2017, will commence from February 9, with defending champions Islamabad United taking on Peshawar Zalmi in the opening match at the Dubai International stadium from 8pm. “The PSL will be special this year with a new trophy and also the tournament will be coming to Pakistan with the final to be played there. There will also be three new trophies – one for best batsman named after Hanif Mohammad, best bowler in the name of Fazal Mahmood and best wicketkeeper named after Imtiaz Ahmad,” said Sethi. The man-of-the-match trophy was unveiled by former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malek.
Eloquent Rameez Raja, former Pakistan captain and a leading commentator, said: “Anything associated with the PSL is five-star – the trophy, players, owners, coaches and managers. I feel privileged to be part of such a dynamic process. It took a lot of hard work to put in the first edition. Many even had doubts whether it will take off and finally it was conducted with flying colours, it should be noted that Karachi-Lahore match in the first edition had more eyeballs than the World Cup quarter-final match between India and Pakistan. So you can imagine the reach and love for the event. I am sure it will grow in stature. I am looking forward to PSL 2 as there are newer players, lot of preparations have gone behind the scenes and the best thing about this year’s PSL is the final which will take place in Pakistan. It will give our fans who have been starved of seeing the superstars a great opportunity. I don’t know whether Lahore’s Gadaffi Stadium will be able to handle the pressure of a PSL final, I am hoping everybody will come in and we have a great spectacle. This tournament will take Pakistan to new horizons. It will be priceless for the young future champions of Pakistan. I hope it will be another great season in the UAE,” he added. When the captains were asked to comment on who they would like to win the glittering trophy, Islamabad United Misbah said: “We want to win it at all costs and thereby defend our title.” Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfraz Ahmad said: “We are more determined to take this trophy.” Pointing to the trophy, Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy said: “This trophy belongs to Zalmis this year.” Karachi Kings captain Kumar Sangakkara remarked: “It is a challenge. We have been working hard eating biryani. We will win it this time.” And Brendon McCullum of Lahore Qalandars simply said: “That trophy belongs to us in Lahore.”