LAHORE: Almost all six Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchises aren’t in a mood to give maximum representation to players belonging to their respective cities. And apart from a few, the 20-22 inductees in each franchise are mostly cricketers from other regions/cities plus the mandatory quota of overseas stars.
For example, current Pakistan discard Sohaib Maqsood is the solitary representative from Multan in the new franchise Multan Sultans, while the gangling fast bowler Mohammad Irfan actually hails from Gaggu Mandi, a remote area near the famous city of the saints.
The Sultans have the likes of skipper Shoaib Malik (Sialkot), Ahmed Shahzad (Lahore), Mohammad Abbas (Sialkot), Abdullah Shafiq (Sialkot), Saif Badar (Sialkot), Junaid Khan (Matra), Umar Gul (Peshawar), Sohail Tanvir (Rawalpindi) and Umar Siddique (Lahore) are prominent figures in Pakistan cricket but they obviously do not belong from Multan.
Similarly, Peshawar Zalmi have just two cricketers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Khalid Usman (Maneri) and Mohammad Arif (Peshawar), while big names in their squad are skipper Mohammad Hafeez (Sargodha), Wahab Riaz and Kamran Akmal (Lahore), Hasan Ali (Gujranwala), Haris Sohail (Sialkot), Mohammad Asghar (Kot Abdullah, Balochistan), Saad Nasim (Lahore).
However, the situation in Karachi Kings is slightly better than the rest. Retired Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has played cricket throughout his career in Karachi despite being born in Khyber Agency. The Kings captain is joined in the squad by five other Karachiites — Khurram Manzoor, Tabish Khan, Hasan Mohsin and Saifullah Khan Bangash.
In contrast, both Islamabad United and two-time runners-up Quetta Gladiators hardly have any player from their cities.
Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s most successful Test captain, hails from Faisalabad, while team-mates Rumman Raees Khan, Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Hasan are all from Karachi). They are joined by Iftikhar Ahmed (Peshawar) and Ammad Butt (Sialkot) as well.
The Gladiators missed the golden opportunity of inducting the prodigiously talented Balochistan-born slow left-armer Mohammad Asghar at the time of player draft and barring the Kings, the remaining five franchises are all led by ‘outsiders’ since Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, who is also the Pakistan captain, comes from Karachi.
The PSL’s third edition runs from Feb 22 to March 25 with matches scheduled in Dubai, Sharjah, Lahore (two playoffs) and Karachi, which will host the final this year.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2018