Zalmi suffer setback as injured Shakib ruled out out of PSL

Zalmi suffer setback as injured Shakib ruled out out of PSL

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858996

Peshawar Zalmi suffered a major blow a day before embarking on the journey to defend their Pakistan Super League (PSL) title as world number one all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan, who is recovering from a finger injury, was ruled out of the league's third edition beginning on Thursday.

"Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al-Hasan will not take part in PSL 2018 due to a hand injury. Sabbir Rahman from Bangladesh [has] joined Peshawar Zalmi as Shakib's partial cover," informed the league's official Twitter handle on Wednesday.

Shakib, who was injured during the final of a tri-nation series last month, was already scheduled to play only the initial few matches as national commitments did not allow for him to play the whole season.

Rahman will also only be available for the first few games and Liam Dawson has already been engaged to cover for the rest of the league.

The first game of the PSL will be played between defending champions Zalmi and newcomers Multan Sultans tomorrow, with the final scheduled to be held in Karachi following play-offs in Lahore.
13 young Shaukat Khanam Hospital patients arrive in Dubai for PSL as Zalmi's guests

13 young Shaukat Khanam Hospital patients arrive in Dubai for PSL as Zalmi's guests

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858997

Keeping up with tradition, last year's winners of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Peshawar Zalmi flew in 13 child cancer patients along with two Shaukat Khanum Hospital staff members to witness the PSL opening ceremony and other Zalmi games.

The special guests arrived in Dubai early on Wednesday morning on Peshawar Zalmi Chairman Javed Afridi's invitation.

The young Zalmi fans on their way to the hotel — *DawnNews*
The young Zalmi fans on their way to the hotel — DawnNews

According to Afridi, this initiative was taken to strengthen the Peshawar Zalmi Foundation's motto which is to #BringBackSmiles.

“We are proud to host these young children. They are our guest and we will make sure that they have a wonderful trip," Afridi said.

He added: "Everyone at Peshawar Zalmi is very excited for their presence and Zalmi players are looking forward to spending time with them. These children are in fact a source of pride and motivation for us all.”

The young Zalmi fans will enjoy the dazzling PSL opening ceremony and will visit various attractions in Dubai during their trip.

In the previous edition of the game, Peshawar Zalmi had invited students from Army Public School Peshawar on a similar trip.
PSL carnival brings more than just cricket for Pakistan

PSL carnival brings more than just cricket for Pakistan

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858449

IT is that time of the year again when cricket begins to dominate discourses during office lunch breaks, family gatherings, and at chai dhabbas.

With the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) commencing tomorrow, cricket which is perhaps the only factor that unites the entire country, will once again be taking the nation by storm.

The tournament kicks off with the defending champions Peshawar Zalmi taking on the new-entrants Multan Sultans at Dubai. Both sides have had a warm-up contest each with Zalmi taking on the finalists of both the editions Quetta Gladiators and Sultans playing the champions of the inaugural PSL Islamabad United.

Both had to face defeat as Gladiators edged out by eight runs against Zalmi and United strolled away with a seven-wicket victory in their matchup against Sultans.

There were, however, some takeaways for Peshawar Zalmi as Kamran Akmal, Sameen Gul, and Hammad Azam stood out with an unbeaten fifty, four for 24 in 3.2 overs, and two for seven in 3 overs.

Zalmi are a well-rounded unit with one of the most successful T20 captains Darren Sammy leading the side and a perfect blend of youngsters and seniors in both departments. They may not have Shahid Afridi in the line-up this year, but the inclusion of the West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo adds to the firepower.

On the other hand are Sultans who failed to produce any notable performances. Their captain Shoaib Malik and Ahmed Shehzad top-scored with 34 off 38 and 33 off 28 in their side’s 155 for 8. The total was surmounted with ease in 19.2 overs, thanks to Misbah-ul-Haq’s unbeaten 30-ball 42.

The new PSL franchise, Sultans are expected to take some time before they come together as a unit. Their presence, however, in the PSL is a testimony of the fact that the T20 league has grown in stature. The Multan-based franchise was sold for $5.2m per year - exactly the double of what had to be paid for the previous most-expensive side: Karachi Kings.

This edition puts two of the poorest performers - Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings - under spotlight as both of the franchises have made drastic changes in their setups in their bids to put up decent shows.

Qalandars, who have won only 5 of their 16 matches in the first two editions, continued with their tradition of bagging T20 superstars as they signed Australian big-hitting batsman Chris Lynn after picking up Chris Gayle in the first and Brendon McCullum, their current captain, in the second edition.

They also shook up their coaching panel by replacing Paddy Upton with Aqib Javed as the head coach and signing Shoaib Akhtar and Inzamam-ul-Haq as bowling and batting consultants.

Karachi Kings, who have been slightly better than their arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars with seven wins in 19 matches, had the biggest T20 superstar in the country Afridi in their camp way before the PSL draft. They will be under a new captain as bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim will be at the helm of affairs.

The arch-rivals open their PSL III campaign on the second day of the tournament as Kings take on Zalmi and Qalandars play Sultans.

On the other end of the success-spectrum lie Sarfraz Ahmed-led Gladiators. Touted as the underdogs in the first season, they surprised everyone by winnings six of their eight group-stage contests and making it to the final. They, however, were blown away by Islamabad United in the final despite being favourites to win the inaugural PSL.

In the following season, their key overseas cricketers refused to travel to Lahore for the final against Peshawar Zalmi at the Qaddafi Stadium leaving them high and dry. The result was another defeat in the final.

However, this time, Sarfraz, whose side has a win percentage of 60, will look to lift the prestigious silverware in his home city. Gladiators begin their quest for the title against the Qalandars on Saturday after Zalmi and United face-off.

Misbah-ul-Haq-led United have a reputation to salvage. Their title defense was tarnished by spot-fixing controversy that saw them in the news throughout last year. Their openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif were tried by an anti-corruption tribunal the two were eventually banned for five years – two and a half suspended for the former.

However, United possess all the right ingredients to overshadow ghosts of the last edition by putting up a quality show with the bat and ball. The franchise is already being credited for producing quality youngsters in Shadab Khan and Rumman Raees, now vice-captain of the franchise, and will look to turn that into a tradition.

The PSL organisers plan to host the last two playoffs and the final in Lahore and Karachi respectively this year. ICC security consultant Reg Dickason was in Karachi this month to inspect a security rehearsal and by his own admission he was “very, very satisfied” by what he saw.

The Pakistan-Sri Lanka Test in 2009 remains to be the last international contest that this ground hosted. This could open up gates for the return of the international cricket in the metropolis, especially how the success of the PSL final in Lahore last year brought four T20Is to the Qaddafi Stadium. Franchises are confident that all of their players will travel to Pakistan if they make it to the last three matches.

If everything goes according to plan, this PSL will do more wonders for Pakistan cricket than the previous one.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018
PSL 2018 preview: Will Quetta Gladiators be third-time lucky?

PSL 2018 preview: Will Quetta Gladiators be third-time lucky?

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858026

Despite being arguably the best team in all of Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Quetta Gladiators have so far failed to lift the trophy, losing in the finals each time in the last two years.

Their disappointments of the previous years mean the Sarfraz Ahmed-led Gladiators must be more determined than ever to go for the kill.

With a balanced side that has several explosive batsmen such as Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Jason Roy and Rilee Rossouw in their ranks, the Gladiators have every reason to believe that they will be third-time lucky.

The presence of the West Indian great Sir Vivian Richards as mentor will continue to add value to the team. Somebody as experienced as Sir Richards pushes the players to perform to the best of their abilities, something that has been visible in Sarfraz’s men throughout the PSL.

Strengths and weaknesses

A strong batting line-up is the Gladiators’ strength. Players like Pietersen, Watson, Roy and Rossouw possess the ability to turn the game around at any point, which is exactly what Sarfraz would expect of them.

If that wasn't enough, they have additional depth with batsmen Asad Shafiq, Sarfraz himself, Umar Amin, Mohammad Nawaz, and Anwar Ali.

But, as it is often said, it's the bowlers who win you games — and this is where the Gladiators are lacking. Not having a strong bowling attack puts their batting under a lot of pressure and, in case of a batting collapse, Sarfraz does not have many options to fall back on.

They will not have the services of one of their top performers Ahmed Shehzad, who has moved to the Multan Sultans.

Only time will tell if an over reliance on batsmen would prove to be a problem. Sarfraz has proven himself to be a smart captain and a quick learner and all eyes will be on him as to how he plays his cards.

Player availability

The West Indian hard-hitter Carlos Braithwaite will not be available this season as he will be helping his national side against associate nations to secure a berth at the 2019 World Cup.

His compatriot Jofra Archer will be at Sarfraz’s disposal for a short duration but he too has to leave for international duty.

In Archer’s absence, Australian bowler Ben Laughlin will step in.

Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah Riyad, England’s Jason Roy, and Afghan globetrotter Rashid Khan will also be partially available.

As their replacements, the Gladiators took on board Australian all-rounders Josh Hastings and Chris Green as well as South Africa’s Albie Morkel.

Player to watch: Kevin Pietersen

T20 superstar Pietersen has been phenomenal with the bat for the Gladiators in the previous two editions of the PSL.

He is a valuable asset for the franchise. For many youngsters, the 37-year-old England star has been a mentor — his many on-field interactions with Sarfraz show that he continues to play a leading role.

Pietersen has also been scoring runs for his side.

He was the second-highest run-getter for the Gladiators in the first season, scoring 215 runs at a strike rate of 130.30 in nine games.

The second time around, he grabbed the third spot, scoring 241 runs at a strike-rate of 151.57 in nine games.

In the absence of Shehzad, the Gladiators will be relying on the towering batsman even more.


Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw, Mahmudullah Riyad (cover: John Hastings), Asad Shafiq, Mohammad Nawaz, Anwar Ali, Mir Hamza, Umar Amin, Shane Watson, Carlos Brathwaite (cover: Jofra Archer/Ben Laughlin), Rahat Ali, Rameez Raja jr., Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Hassan Khan, Jason Roy (cover: Albie Morkel), Rashid Khan (cover: Chris Green), Mohammad Azam Khan and Faraz Ahmed
Hales quits Tests to focus on limited-overs cricket

Hales quits Tests to focus on limited-overs cricket

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858207

LONDON: Alex Hales announced on Tuesday he is turning his back on Test cricket after signing a new limited-overs contract with county side Nottinghamshire following a similar decision by England team-mate Adil Rashid.

Rashid last week said he intended to focus solely on shorter, white-ball cricket for Yorkshire this season and Hales has penned a deal until the end of the 2019 season that will see him feature only in 50-over and 20-over formats of the game.

Hales’ decision is likely to strengthen fears that England’s top limited-overs internationals could abandon first class, or red-ball, cricket, which includes five-day Test matches, in favour of playing in lucrative domestic Twenty20 competitions around the world.

The opening batsman proved crucial in Nottinghamshire’s domestic white-ball double in 2017 and is a regular in England’s limited-overs set-up with 58 one-day and 52 T20 international appearances.

But the 29-year-old’s decision seemingly ends his hopes of adding to his 11 Test caps, the last of which he earned in August 2016.

“For the next 18 months I’m excited to focus entirely on limited overs cricket and want to be part of a Notts team that retains the white ball double and a World Cup winning squad with England,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

“The decision to focus on my white ball game wasn’t taken lightly or on the spur of the moment, it’s one I’ve thought long and hard about. It’s also one I’ve discussed at length with the Notts management.”

Hales, who has registered 13 centuries in 107 first-class appearances, is slated to feature in the upcoming Pakistan Super League with Islamabad United following England’s one-day series in New Zealand but both he and Rashid were overlooked in the Indian Premier League auction.

“Alex is entitled to make himself available for whatever format he wants to play, and we respect his decision,” said Nottinghamshire director of cricket Mick Newell. “He’s an outstanding white ball player and we look forward to him helping us win more trophies in that format of the game.”

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018
Games face new doping blow as Canadian skaters serve up magic

Games face new doping blow as Canadian skaters serve up magic

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858206

PYEONGCHANG: The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was hit by a third doping scandal on Tuesday, casting a shadow over the magic on ice served up by peerless Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

On a day when the first unified Korean Olympic team took an emotional bow, the Games suffered a fresh doping blow with the suspension of Slovenian ice hockey player Ziga Jeglic.

It came soon after a Russian bronze medallist in curling was suspended for failing a doping test and a Japanese short-track speed skater was similarly kicked out of the Games in South Korea last week.

Russian curler Alexander Krushelnitsky tested positive for the banned substance

meldonium and Moscow’s sports minister waded into the controversy on Tuesday when he said the athlete was innocent of knowingly taking the drug.

“In this case, the athlete could not have used the banned drug intentionally, it would be simply pointless. Curling, as a whole, is not the kind of sport in which dishonest athletes use doping,” said Pavel Kolobkov.

It could have wider repercussions — Olympic officials will decide this week whether to lift a formal ban on Russia and let them march behind their national flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

Jeglic, who plays in Russia, tested positive for fenoterol, a banned substance used to treat breathing difficulties, and was given 24 hours to quit the Olympic Village.

The latest drugs scandal hit just after one of the high points of the Games — the gold-medal-winning performance of Virtue and Moir to clinch victory in the ice dance.

They skated last after watching French rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron break their own free dance record and top the standings with the best combined total of their careers.

The pressure was unbearable but Virtue and Moir showed no signs of buckling, skating out a flawless routine to Roxanne from Moulin Rouge in what may well be their last hurrah on the world stage.

“Amazing. It was a special moment to come out last,” said Virtue.

Papadakis suffered embarrassment during Monday’s routine when her dress slipped open but she and Cizeron were still on course for gold — until the Canadians delivered something special to become the most decorated Olympic skaters of all time.

Away from the grace and elegance of the skating rink, Martin Fourcade became the most decorated French athlete in Olympic history as he helped his country to gold in the biathlon mixed relay.

It was the remarkable 29-year-old’s fifth Olympic title, his third in South Korea.

“We often say that we are doing an individual sport but we are living more than 220 days a year together,” Fourcade said, stressing it was a team achievement.

“Winning this medal together is something really emotional and we really enjoy it.”

In contrast, his fellow French competitor Marie Martinod wiped out on her final run in freestyle skiing’s halfpipe to hand gold to Cassie Sharpe of Canada.

Sharpe produced some jaw-dropping aerobatics and celebrated by raising her hands behind her head in a bunny-ear sign as she crossed the line backwards.

There were tears and cheers as the unified Korean women’s hockey team exited the Olympics with a 6-1 defeat to Sweden in their final game.

The team was hastily assembled following a landmark deal between South and North Korea only a few weeks before the Pyeongchang Games, and has 12 North Koreans on its roster.

The squad had little success, however, shipping 28 goals and scoring just twice in their five defeats.

But they proved a crowd favourite and came to stand as a symbol of the abrupt reconciliation between North and South Korea that occurred in the run-up to the Games.

At the business end of the competition in Pyeongchang, where more strong wind is forecast at the end of the week, Germany caught Norway at the top of the medals table with 11 golds apiece.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018
Shoaib shocks Indian third seed Arthav

Shoaib shocks Indian third seed Arthav

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858450

ISLAMABAD: Mohammad Shoaib caused a major upset in the Syed Tajammul Abbas ITF Pakistan World Junior Ranking Tennis Championship on Tuesday when he elminated third-seeded Indian Neema Arthav in the second round here at the PTF Complex.

Shoaib’s powerful game from the baseline, laced with cross-court forehand and backhand returns, saw him win 6-1, 6-2 and saw Arthav breaking his racket at the end, and getting a penalty from the ITF supervisor as a result.

Top-seeded Ahmed Zyaan of Great Britain, meanwhile, eliminate Hamza Bin Rehan 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 to join Shoaib in the quarter-finals.

Suresh Darrshan of Malaysia, the second seed, also booked his place in the last-eight with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Moosa Choudhry.

Huzaifa Abdul Rehman was another surprise quarter-finalist when he upset sixth seed Nouman Aftab 6-3, 6-4 while Saqib Hayat also progressed after he came from a set down to beat Chinese Taipei’s Wen Yi Chou 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Completing the final quartet were Rattanan Siritaworchar of Thailand, Canada’s Faisal Ghous and Cheng Wei Chen of Chinese Taipei.

Siritaworchar overcame Ahmed Asjad Qureshi in a thriller 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 7-6 (7-5), Faisal battled past Sami Zeb Khan 7-5, 6-1, while Chen crusied past Zalan Khan 6-1, 6-1.

Other results:

Boys’ doubles (first round): Nouman Aftab (Pakistan)/Yee Mathew (Hong Kong) bt Sami Zeb Khan/Subhan Bin Salik (both Pakistan) 6-3, 7-5;

Cheng Wei Chen/Chou Wen Yi (both Chinese Taipei) bt Moosa Choudhry/Zalan Khan (both Pakistan) 6-0, 6-0; Chang Cameron Austin (US)/Cheng Hsuni Lui (Chinese Taipei) bt M.Shehryar Ahmed/M.Zaryab Khan (both Pakistan)—walkover; Mohammad Shoaib/Saqib Hayat (both Pakistan) bt Hamza Bin Rehan/Ahmed Kamil (both Pakistan) 7-5, 6-7 (3-7), 10-8.

Girls’ doubles (first round): Mert Aysegul/Toglukdemir Mina (both Turkey) bt Shimza Durab (Pakistan) & Srujana Rayarala (India) 6-0, 6-3; Aksu Semra/Bilgic Sedef (both Turkey) bt Nida Akram/Zahara Suleman (Pakistan) 6-0, 6-0; Ozseker Sevval (Turkey)/Piwbangruk Natthapat (Thailand) bt Zoha Asim (Pakistan) and Lajos Anna (Hungary)—walkover.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018
Wigan end City quadruple bid with FA Cup shock

Wigan end City quadruple bid with FA Cup shock

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25858208
WIGAN: Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg scores past Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo as Aymeric Laporte (L) and Kyle Walker look on during the FA Cup match at the DW Stadium.—Reuters
WIGAN: Wigan Athletic’s Will Grigg scores past Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo as Aymeric Laporte (L) and Kyle Walker look on during the FA Cup match at the DW Stadium.—Reuters

WIGAN: Pep Guardiola’s quest to win an unprecedented quadruple with Manchester City came to a stunning and controversial end when they were sensationally knocked out of the FA Cup on Monday by third-tier Wigan Athletic who beat the 10-man Premier League leaders 1-0 in a fifth round upset with a late goal by their talisman Will Grigg.

In an uncanny repeat of the 2013 FA Cup final, in which City had a player sent off before losing to a late Wigan winner, Guardiola’s side had Fabian Delph dismissed amid stormy scenes before Grigg secured one of the biggest shocks by slotting the ball home from the edge of the box in the 79th minute.

Northern Ireland international Grigg who capitalised on an error by City substitute Kyle Walker — who allowed a pass to run through to the Wigan man — and kept ahead of John Stones before finishing clinically from just inside the area.

Chants of ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ echoed around the DW Stadium but a famous night was marred by a post-match pitch invasion by Wigan supporters which saw a number of them confront City players, with striker Sergio Aguero required to defend himself.

Wigan will host another Premier League team Southampton in next month’s quarter-finals having now beaten three top-flight sides in their fairytale Cup run.

“It feels great, doesn’t it,” said their manager Paul Cook. “It’s such a severe test, they’re such a strong side... tonight we had to ride our luck with a couple of flashing crosses, but that’s what makes the FA Cup so special.

“Our lads deserve a lot of credit for the amount of work and the level of energy they put in. To beat a Man City team you have to do that.”

It was only City’s second defeat to English opposition since losing an FA Cup semi-final to Arsenal last April. Manager Pep Guardiola said his expensively-assembled side had done everything they could but paid the price for one mistake.

“That kind of game is like a final and always the teams can punish you,” he told the BBC. “OK. So accept the defeat. Congratulations to Wigan,” added the Spaniard, whose side enjoyed 82 percent of possession in the second half.

The pivotal sending-off arrived in first half injury-time when Delph made a rash challenge on Wigan’s Max Power, prompting referee Anthony Taylor to pull a yellow card out of his pocket before changing his mind and producing red.

That infuriated City players, who surrounded the referee, and the dispute spilled into the rival technical areas with Aguero having to be dragged away by Guardiola as he argued furiously with Wigan coaches.

The scene turned even uglier, with television cameras in the tunnel capturing footage of Guardiola and Wigan manager Paul Cook in a major verbal confrontation and being kept apart by staff.

Guardiola accepted the referee’s decision and played down its significance.

“We played good in the second half even with 10 so the influence in terms of the way we played wasn’t too much,” he said. “Of course, with 11 it’s easier. We conceded one shot on target in 90 minutes and we lost. Football is like this.

“Of course, we are sad and we want to go through because the FA Cup is a nice competition and you want to go to the quarter-finals. They score a goal, we were not able to.”

Despite Guardiola and Cook exchanging strong words on the touchline both managers said there wasn’t a problem.

“From our point of view we’re trying to get every edge in everything we can,” Cook said. “We certainly wish them well fighting on all fronts because they represent English football so well.”

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2018
Excitement in the air as PSL trophy unveiled

Excitement in the air as PSL trophy unveiled

21/02/2018, Pakistan, Multi Sports, Pakistan Publications, Article # 25856632

DUBAI: “They are all coming for my title,” said Darren Sammy with a big smile on his face.He said it jokingly but it’s true.

The other five captains – Misbah-ul-Haq (Islamabad United), Sarfraz Ahmed (Quetta Gladiators), Brendon McCullum (Lahore Qalandars), Shoaib Malik (Multan Sultans) and Imad Wasim (Karachi Kings) — will certainly be gunning for the coveted title when the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) explodes into action here at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium from Thursday (tomorrow).

It is certainly going to be an intense event and Peshawar Zalmi, the defending champions, will face an uphill task to retain the crown. But on Tuesday there was a visible camaraderie between the six captains as the PSL trophy was unveiled in an impressive ceremony.

Sammy, the World Cup-winning former West Indian captain, hoped that his team will go on to play the final in Karachi on March 25.“I hope the tournament becomes more successful. I hope my team is still in the running when we get to Karachi (for the final).”

Before the Trophy unveiling at the Stadium a special “Uber Trophy Handover” was carried out.The Trophy was picked up from Swarovski office in an Uber Chopper that took off from the Atlantis Helipad, the Chopper landed at the Me’aisem City Centre.

At the Me’aisem City Centre, the Trophy was received by Sammy who was driven to the venue in an Uber Limousine.Sammy and the rest of the captains were driven to the Dubai Cricket Stadium (DSC) where the Trophy was unveiled.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by the management of the tournament and owners of the PSL franchises, along with top officials from the Pakistan Cricket Board.Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi thanked all the stakeholders for making the tournament a success.

“I am grateful to all stakeholders, sponsors, franchises and the players for their outstanding support and contribution in making the PSL prosper, I wish all captains the very best and I hope that we see exciting cricket over the course of the next one month both in the UAE and the last leg in Pakistan,” he commented.

Sethi gave a vote of confidence to Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who will lead the Gladiators in PSL saying “If someone can lead the Green Shirts, they can lead any side in the world.”

Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan captain, praised Sethi for his role in the initiation and success of PSL.“Najam Sethi has done a great thing by holding PSL. It was a challenge and he took it on,” he said.