ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday paid glowing tribute to Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy for his role in revival of international cricket in Pakistan.

Sammy — who captained West Indies to World Twenty20 titles in 2012 and 2016 — along with Peshawar Zalmi franchise owner Javed Afridi, head coach Mohammad Akram and former South Africa great Hashim Amla, who is Peshawar’s batting mentor in the ongoing HBL Pakistan Super League 2020, met the Prime Minister at the PM House here on Wednesday afternoon.

During the meeting Imran — arguably the finest all-rounder ever to play for Pakistan and was also among the best captains the country ever had — lauded Sammy’s immense contributions ever since he joined the Zalmi family from the start of PSL in 2016.

The prime minister profusely congratulated the ex-West Indies all-rounder on his nomination for the honorary citizenship of Pakistan; an honour which would be bestowed on him on March 23 in Islamabad, while adding Javed Afridi has always highlighted the role played by Sammy in reviving restoration of international back in the country.

Addressing Sammy, the prime minister was quoted as saying: “You are now a Pakistani citizen too and your pivotal role in bringing international back to Pakistan will be always remembered. Javed Afridi has also acknowledged your efforts.”

Sammy — the first player from St Lucia to play international cricket — has represented West Indies in 38 Tests, 126 One-day Internationals and 68 Twenty20 Internationals from 2007 to 2016. These days the 36-year-old mainly plays in various franchise-based league competitions both in T20 and T20 formats, while being an integral part of the Peshawar Zalmi family.

Imran also welcomed Amla coming to Pakistan for the PSL V season.

Meanwhile, two other Peshawar Zalmi cricketers, veteran wicket-keeper/batsman Kamran Akmal and young batting sensation Haider Ali visited a private school for a short period in the federal capital and distributed the team caps among the kid students, who sang the Zalmi theme song in chorus.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2020

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