DUBAI: The third edition of Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) trophy was unveiled on Tuesday in Dubai in the presence of the six captains who will be contending for the silverware along with their teams from February 22.
The trophy is sponsored by Swarovski and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi thanked and praised them for crafting it. All the captains spoke on the occasion, with each of them optimistic about lifting it after the landmark final at the National Stadium of Karachi.
“I just want to say that without these franchise owners, there would be no PSL. I want to express my gratitude to them for their enormous support in terms of the money and the effort that they’ve put into this brand,” said Sethi, while praising the franchise owners in the press conference before the trophy was unveiled.
He also took the time to individually praise each franchise captain. “How can I not start with [Peshawar Zalmi captain] Darren Sammy,” he said. “He is a superstar back in Pakistan. We are indebted to him for the courage with which he came to Lahore, stood there and won the hearts of everyone.” Sethi then spoke about Misbah. “On my left is possibly the greatest captain, certainly as far as statistics are concerned one of the greatest captains of the Pakistan cricket team, Misbahul Haq,” he said.
“Apart from the laurels that have piled up at his doorstep – and there is a mountain of them – he is a unique man. I haven’t met a more humble person and a truer gentleman. He epitomises the phrase that cricket is a gentlemen’s game. I hope other captains emulate him,” added Sethi.
Najam Sethi also praised Shoaib Malik for taking the onus of leading new entrants Multan Sultans in the third edition. He thanked Lahore Qalandars’ captain Brendon McCullum for taking interest in PSL second year around and wished his team luck for the third edition.
On Karachi Kings’ new captain Imad Wasim, Sethi said: “He is a young and upcoming star. Imad is one of our most talented all-rounders. If he can lift the silverware with Karachi this year, I tell you he is in our sight to maybe lead Pakistan in the future.”
Sethi then introduced Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed by mentioning his biggest achievement yet for Pakistan cricket team. “Sarfraz, a man who brought untold joy and ecstasy by winning the Champions Trophy.”
Former Pakistan T20I captain Shahid Afridi also spoke on the occasion and thanked Sethi for making PSL a reality.”I would like to thank Sethi for promoting cricket in Pakistan through PSL. It was a big challenge but he took it upon him to make it a reality, sir thank you so much,” said Afridi.
The unveiling ceremony was accompanied by a press conference that PSL chief Najam Sethi along with Darren Sammy, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Brendon McCullum, Misbah-ul-Haq and Sarfraz Ahmed, will address. Each of those present were given an opportunity to say a few words, starting with Sethi, who thanked Swarovski for making the trophy, and introduced each of the cricketers present at the dais alongside him. Praising Karachi Kings skipper Imad Wasim, Sethi said, “He is one of the most talented players.
Handing him captaincy of the Karachi Kings is an excellent opportunity. He is the youngest captain here. If the Kings win under Imad, he will be planted firmly in my crosshairs,” Sethi joked. Sethi gave Sarfraz Ahmed, skipper of both the Quetta Gladiators and the national cricket team, his vote of confidence: “If someone can lead the Green Shirts, they can lead any side in the world.”
The third season of the PSL was kick off in Dubai on Thursday with a star-studded ceremony headlined by the legendary Sufi singer Abida Parveen and American pop star Jason Derulo. Pakistani heartthrobs Ali Zafar and Shahzad Roy will also be entertaining fans at the event.
The tournament opener featuring defending champions Peshawar Zalmi and new entrants Multan Sultans will take place the same night at 10pm in Dubai. A total of 34 matches will be played across different venues in Dubai, Sharjah, and Lahore. The final is to be held at Karachi’s National Stadium on March 25, according to the PSL schedule. During the season, all teams will play against each other twice before the top four teams qualify for the play-off stage.