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March 08, 2017
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PSL more than just a game for Pakistan cricket

KARACHI: The second edition of Pakistan Super League concluded on a high note and with a strong message to the world as thousands marched towards Lahore’s Gadhafi stadium to express their love for the game and to witness the title match between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators.

PSL 2017 proved out to be more than just a T20 league for Pakistan. While producing some new talents for the country, the league also highlighted Pakistan’s determination to curb corruption from the game and also the country’s eagerness to have cricket at home.

Many feared that the early controversy which led to suspension of Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan, for their alleged links with an international syndicate which made attempts to corrupt the PSL, would dent the credibility and popularity of the league.

But, fortunately, the league continued to flourish. The PSL management – led by Najam Sethi – not only tackled the alleged corruption scandal in a professional manner but also took steps to keep the league’s sanctity and credibility alive.

And then, fans witnessed some great nail-biting matches. Lahore making Zalmi struggle while defending a small target of 60, Kevin Pietersen leading Quetta Gladiators to chase 200 target in 19th over against Peshawar Zalmi, Grant Elliot smashing last ball sixer to make Lahore Qalandars victorious against Islamabad United and being noticed all over for his ‘bat drop’ celebration, teams failing to score 7 runs in two overs, or two runs of three balls added beauty and thrill to the already much-discussed league.  

The big name of cricketing arena such as Darren Sammy, Eoin Morgan, Brendon McCullum, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Chris Gayle, Jason Roy, Grant Elliot Shane Watson and many more showcased their cricketing skills to entertain the fans of Pakistan Super League.

The presence of top star cricketers also helped Pakistan’s young-blood to enhance their skills, and many of them used the PSL platform to emerging players – who were in oblivion before the PSL provided them with the much needed limelight.Of them, some are, Shadab Khan of Islamabad United, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Irfan of Lahore Qalandars, Hassan Khan of Quetta Gladiators and Usama Mir of Karachi Kings who made an impact and now are ready for getting reality to their dreams of playing for Pakistan.

The PSL, without any iota of doubt, provided these youngsters with a confidence booster and they’ve also agreed to the fact that sharing the dressing room with greats encouraged them to perform better every time.

“The way Kumar Sangakkara showed confidence on me and handed me the ball to deliver the last over was very encouraging for me, it boosted my confidence and subsequently helped me to make my team win the game,” said Usama Mir of Karachi Kings when asked how the PSL helped him.

Same were the thoughts of Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman. Shadab credited Wasim Akram and Misbahul Haq for encouraging him while Fakhar Zaman said that he was mentored by Brendon McCullum to perform fearlessly.

Following the colourful and exciting phase of Pakistan Super League, came the much-awaited phase for Pakistan cricket, the phase which had the responsibility of deciding the fate of Pakistan cricket, the final of PSL in Lahore.

And it happened, despite the refusal of top foreign players of Quetta Gladiators, it happened. Peshawar Zalmi managed to bring four of its foreign players to Pakistan.

Darren Sammy, Chris Jordan, Marlon Samuels and Dawid Malan came to Lahore to win hearts of Pakistan cricket fans. Quetta Gladiators also decided to play the final for the better interest of Pakistan and went on to play the game despite losing their top players.

It happened, and it has now opened the doors for more cricket in Pakistan.

The PSL was not just a T20 league for Pakistan. The PSL is, probably, the best thing to happen Pakistan cricket in last few years which is transforming Pakistan’s cricket into a proper product and without any doubt, the country will soon start getting the fruits of it when players like Shadab Khan and Fakhar Zaman would come into Pakistan team, and the successful final in Lahore would bring more cricket to home.

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