KARACHI: The six Pakistan Super League (PSL) teams have started to gather in Dubai for the third edition of the tournament and former cricketers believe this year’s edition will be more entertaining and competitive than the precious two ones.
Lahore Qalandars became the first team to reach the UAE on Thursday, nine days before they take on newcomers Multan Sultan on February 23 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan Cricket Board Director Cricket Operations Haroon Rasheed believes the addition of Multan Sultan means the league will now be even more difficult to win and the gap between the sides has decreased even further.
“All teams are well prepared for the competition. They have been practicing here in Pakistan and will also have some days to practice in Dubai,” he told The Express Tribune. “The earlier a team reaches the UAE, the more advantage it will have over other teams.”
However, Rasheed said there is only so much you can do in terms of preparation at this level. “No matter how hard you prepare, on match day all it takes are a few good overs with the bat or the ball to turn the game on its head. Even in previous seasons, we have seen that matches are more than capable of producing a twist in the tale.”
Rasheed feels that each team has three or four players who can change the game around for this side; meaning that predicting this year’s competition is going to be harder than ever.
“Every team has selected their power hitters and will be relying on them since one good innings from them can make all the difference,” he said.
Talking about the matches to be played in Pakistan, Rasheed said they have had an amazing response for them.
“The response we have received from the fans, especially for the final to be held in Karachi, is incredible and something we have been waiting for a long time,” he said. “Karachi has now been given security clearance after the visit of the security consultants. Once the final is held in Karachi, teams will start touring the city just like they are now touring Lahore. Hopefully in three or four years, we can have international cricket back in the country.”
Peshawar Zalmi arrive in Dubai on Friday, Quetta Gladiators on Saturday, Karachi Kings on Sunday and Multan Sultans do so on Monday — just a couple of days before the league’s opening game between them and defending champions Peshawar Zalmi.
Power-hitters to decide PSL, says Imran Nazir
Pakistani opening batsman Imran Nazir believes the team with the most explosive batsmen will be the one to claim the third edition of the league.
“The shortest format of the game is made for batsmen,” he said. “It a batsman’s game and it’s really hard for the bowlers to restrict the batsmen. Bowlers used to get hit all over the park when the format began but have since then developed a lot of tricks and variations to keep the batsmen in check. However, the batsmen have now also gotten used to these tricks. So while it has become a little harder for batsmen, the team with the most power-hitters and game changers still is the one that usually wins.”