'Sensational cricket product': Commentators and analysts share their PSL experience

Published January 28, 2019
PSL's commentary team poses for a photo. — PSL
PSL's commentary team poses for a photo. — PSL

Pakistan Super League's foreign imports are not just limited to cricketers. To cover the T20 spectacle, the league invites a bunch of international analysts who aid the local pundits in presenting the game to the fans.

The inaugural tournament in 2016 was called by Ramiz Raja, Bazid Khan, Alan Wilkins, Pat Symcox and Tom Moody.

In 2017, Ian Bishop, Danny Morrison and Mel Jones added a new flavour to the tournament as they joined Bazid, Ramiz and Wilkins in the commentary box.

The 2018 PSL saw Damien Fleming, Daren Ganga, Michael Slater make their debuts as they appeared alongside the usual suspects: Bazid, Ramiz, Wilkins and Morrison. In addition to that, Zainab Abbas has been a constant face as a presenter of the tournament.

The collective voice of PSL recently shared their PSL experience and their expectations from the tournament's upcoming 2019 edition, which kicks off on Feb 14.

Damien Fleming

“I was lucky enough to be invited to commentate on the HBL PSL 2018 and was expecting a great competition, but my expectations were set too low as the HBL PSL was a sensational cricket product.

“The quality of cricket was entertaining with Luke Ronchi, Shane Watson, Babar Azam and Kamran Akmal dominating. The bowling was probably at a better standard, with Wahab Riaz, Usman Shinwari, Chris Jordan and Faheem Ashraf showing top quality T20 bowling.

“But the biggest revelation was the fielding standard, which was comfortably above Australia’s own Big Bash League.

“Also, Pakistan’s reputation as talent factory was on display again with young spinner Shadab Khan and promising quick Shaheen Shah Afridi bursting into prominence.

“So, in summary, I can easily see why the HBL PSL is such a big success back home in Pakistan and equally well spectated in the finals due to the quality of top-notch cricketers and T20 cricket played.”

Ian Bishop

Ian Bishop (L) poses for the camera. — Twitter
Ian Bishop (L) poses for the camera. — Twitter

“I had a great pleasure of working on the HBL PSL 2017, which was held mostly in the UAE, with the final taking place in Lahore.

“I have to say how enjoyable the experience was. It was very well organised. The thing about HBL PSL was that it allowed me and the wider public around the world to see the talent that Pakistan holds and has below the international players.

“We got to see the elevation of guys like Shadab Khan and Hassan Khan, who went on to captain the Pakistan U19 team the following year. We got to see Fakhar Zaman display his skills to a wider public.

“That to me is one of the critical things about the HBL PSL exposing the number of domestic cricket talents to wider cricket public.”

Mel Jones

“Talented, entertaining, competitive and fun. They are the words that spring to mind when I think of the HBL PSL.

Having worked on it in 2017, I am an avid fan of the tournament myself. Seeing home grown talent mix it daily with some of the world’s best is a cricket fan’s dream.”

Danny Morrison

“I have to say the HBL PSL is fast growing into one of the most exciting and powerful T20 franchise tournaments in the world.

“I have come to a few of them now and I got to say, I really enjoyed. I was honoured to go back to Lahore to do a T20I between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“I am looking forward to 2019 edition without a doubt. I cannot wait to be part of it and look forward to it to go nuts and go boom.”

Alan Wilkins

“The HBL PSL took off with great fanfare and success in 2016, and I am going to use air travel as my analogy here because since it took off, the HBL PSL has climbed to great heights. The excitement was the number of young players coming out of Pakistan who mixed their skills with the overseas contingent.

“Let’s take a prime example of Shaheen Shah Afridi. At the start of 2018, he was an Under-19 cricketer for Pakistan. He went into the HBL PSL and took five wickets for four runs for the Qalandars. That can happen to a lot of young players because HBL PSL puts players in the window to the world.

“From a personal point of view, it was with great pride and excitement that I went to Lahore and Karachi for the first time. Majid Khan was my first captain in England, and I played with the great Zaheer Abbas, so there was tremendous excitement to be part of the HBL PSL, to be part of that fabric of Pakistan cricket in Pakistan.”

Zainab Abbas

“The HBL PSL was a unique experience for me. Each year the tournament grew and with it my own skills of presenting. Being an avid cricket follower from a young age, I can safely say it is the best thing that has happened to Pakistan’s cricket. It augurs well for the local and young players as they share time with some of the best players in the world.

“Lahore is home for me and watching the final there in 2017 was a special moment. I enjoyed taking commentators around the city as they were blown away by the hospitality they received in Lahore. The crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium was electric. A cricket hungry nation seeing some of their favourite stars was a dream come true thing. I hope that this tournament only grows and helps in bringing more cricket to Pakistan.”

Daren Ganga

“My first interaction with the HBL PSL was in 2018. I was immediately greeted with unique flair and exciting flavour, which to me, was authentic Pakistan. The cricket, the music, the passion of the crowds both in UAE and Pakistan, all reflected the excitement of the people.

“PSL brought new talent to the fore and produced high quality cricket. Long live HBL PSL, long live Pakistan.”

Bazid Khan

“I never expected the HBL PSL to take off so brilliantly. I started off thinking it might be good, but it became really good very quickly.

“As a commentator, the game that stood out for me was when Lahore played Karachi and there was a Super Over. The quality of cricket has been really superb, and we have got talent and youngsters coming through.

“The one thing that really stands out for me in terms of quality is the fielding. The standard of fielding has gone through the roof. It is one of the top leagues in the world and there is no doubt about that.”



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