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Cricket, PSL: Green Shirts set to showcase the best

ISLAMABAD: With just six days before the eighth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicks off on 13th February, the Pakistani players hope to showcase top notch in the extravaganza.

While speaking to the PCB Podcast, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan and Shadab Khan expressed their views on the mega tournament.

Imad Wasim, who has played 58 T20Is for Pakistan, would captain 2020 champions Karachi Kings, Mohammad Rizwan hopes to inspire Multan Sultans to their third successive final, while Shadab Khan will attempt to make Islamabad United the most successful PSL franchise by winning the title for the third time.

Rizwan would feature in the opening match of the PSL 8 when his side will take on defending champions Lahore Qalandars in Multan on 13th February.

Imad would be in action on February 14 when he will go head to head with Babar Azam-captained Karachi Kings in Karachi, while Shadab will walk out for the toss for the first time in 2023 in Karachi on 16th February.

Imad Wasim said, “HBL PSL is one of the best leagues in the world, which is very close to our hearts.

We wait for this league for 10 months during which we prepare, plan and set goals.

Last year, Karachi Kings were hampered with injuries, but for 2023, we have all bases covered with high-quality players who all are match-winners.

The most important thing for us is to play T20 the way it should be played, which is with a positive attitude and aggressive intent.

“We will go step-by-step and match-by-match in this tournament with our first target being to secure a place in the play-offs.

One of the best things about this HBL PSL is we will have home matches.

So, we are aiming to make the best use of our first five matches at home and build the momentum that can carry us into the play-offs.

Mohammad Rizwan said, “Captaincy and batting can be challenging, but we have a good group of people who have not only empowered me but also back and supported.

“The philosophy of Multan Sultans is simple: play as champions irrespective of the opposition or the outcome. Consequently, we are not afraid of the results.

“It is always challenging to face Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf and Hasan Ali. And this doesn’t only apply to me but to all the batters as they are seriously quick and effective bowlers with plenty of variety.”

Shadab Khan said, “What I am today is solely due to HBL PSL.

“I entered in this competition as an Emerging Category player, but this tournament gave me the opportunity, belief and confidence to grow and develop as a cricketer and I am pleased that I am now a Platinum Category player

“When I started my cricket, I thought I could be a good U19 or domestic cricketer, but then I got the opportunity in HBL PSL 1 where I was able to deceive and trouble the then world’s best batter Kumar Sangakkara with my wrong’un or leg-spin.

This turned things around for me as I started believing in myself and now I can play in any competition, against any opponent and in any tournament.

“PSL provided me with the chance to demonstrate my captaincy and batting abilities with performances and establish myself as a useful and effective all-rounder. When I am playing in PSL, I am more focused because I don’t want to lose to my team-mates and close friends, otherwise they remind you the whole year with their teasing comments,” he said.

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M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.