'PSL is not in a position to force foreign players to play in Pakistan'

Nadeem Omar believes that the league needs time to become a bigger brand

Saleem Khaliq November 16, 2018

KARACHI: Owner of Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Nadeem Omar has said that the league can’t lure top foreign cricketers to visit Pakistan unless it becomes a bigger brand.

While talking in an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, the Gladiators’ owner said: “PSL is not in a position to force any foreign player to play in Pakistan. It has to become a bigger brand in order to generate that sort of demand.”

He added that the players who don’t visit Pakistan are still very important in creating an identity for the league.

“Players who are coming to play only in UAE are also very important to crate PSL’s identity. So we have to stay patient and let it create its own identity first,” he said.

Speaking about the inclusion of Umar Akmal in the Quetta side for the fourth edition of PSL, Omar said that — despite his off the field controversies — the right-handed middle-order batsman is highly talented.

“You cannot deny the talent of Akmal although his off the field activates have made him controversial,” he said. “We have picked Akmal because, he is willing to make a comeback in Pakistan team and he has performed well during our Ramadan tournament. Players like him will give their extra effort in PSL because they are desperate to make a comeback.”

He further stated: “Another reason to pick him in our squad was that we were missing fire power especially when we play in Pakistan. Our foreign players hadn’t come to Pakistan — in the previous editions of the league — so we have decided to focus on our national cricketers.”

While speaking about picking up left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir, Omar said that he has vast experience of playing in T20 leagues all over the world which will prove beneficial for the side.

“Tanvir has tons of experience in T20 cricket. We were missing an experienced pacer in our squad and he fills that gap. More importantly he needs a stable side from where he can play for two to three years,” he said.

Giving his views on West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine — who represented Lahore Qalandars last season — he said: “Narine is a magnificent addition to our squad. It is a good sign for us that we signed a great spinner — who can also bat as an opener.”

Omar also thanked Pakistan and Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfraz Ahmed for staying with the franchise since its inception.

“If you look at the history of Sarfraz, he is with us since childhood and our organisation is like a family. I’m thankful to Sarfraz that he did not accept a huge offer from a franchise and stayed with us,” he said.

Commenting on Pakistan team captaincy issue, he said: “I think that we don’t have to drag our team into in another controversy. They are playing as a unit for last two years and all the seniors who are possible options to lead Pakistan in the tournament have refused to accept the job so far. So the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should clear the matter as soon as it can.”

The fourth edition of PSL will begin on February 14, 2019 in United Arab Emirates although eight matches of the tournament will be played in Pakistan.

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