Shan, Imad predict riveting contest

Published November 14, 2020
Shan Masood sent out a clear warning to Karachi Kings on Friday that Multan Sultans would leave no stone unturned in their endeavour to reach the Pakistan Super Leave (PSL) V final. — File photo
Shan Masood sent out a clear warning to Karachi Kings on Friday that Multan Sultans would leave no stone unturned in their endeavour to reach the Pakistan Super Leave (PSL) V final. — File photo

KARACHI: Shan Masood sent out a clear warning to Karachi Kings on Friday that Multan Sultans would leave no stone unturned in their endeavour to reach the Pakistan Super Leave (PSL) V final on the first attempt at the start of the playoffs at the National Stadium.

Addressing a virtual media conference on eve of Saturday’s Qualifier against the Imad Wasim-led Karachi Kings side, Shan observation the Multan think-tank, spearheaded by head coach and Zimbabwe legend Andy Flower, is not going to take a chance in the fixture which decides automatic qualification to Tuesday night’s final here.

“The first task in front of my team is to win tomorrow [Saturday] because winning is a good habit to have in a competition where you know that there is a second opportunity for the teams playing the Qualifier,” Shan said on Friday. “The idea is to beat them [Karachi Kings] because they are a very good and competitive side with the world’s best batsman [Babar Azam] in my view, playing for them and then Imad Wasim is a very good leader too. To sum it up, it will be a great game since both our teams are well covered in all departments.”

The articulate Shan said there is no question of teams being hampered by rustiness owing to inadequate cricket or even lack of it at some stage

“No side would be at disadvantage, really because most of the guys have been playing regularly in recent weeks, especially the Pakistani cricketers who were involved extensively in the National T20 Cup and some also had competed in the ODI and T20 series against Zimbabwe,” Shan pointed out. “I don’t see as an excuse if some of the players have not played for a while because after all, we are professionals and as such, do not have issues related to not playing for months.

“Look as I said earlier, our home-based players had been through an extensive domestic season and there are still more matches [to come after this week concludes] that they’ll play. So talks of losing momentum have no merit in my view. Because it applies to all teams here now.”

With a number of leg-spin options — Lahore-born ex-South African representative Imran Tahir, the 40-year-old former Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and Usman Qadir, who was man-of-the-series in the T20 clean sweep of Zimbabwe just few days ago on his international debut — at his disposal, Shan said the team combination in every match is decided on the strengths of the opponents.

“One can’t state here that we will be playing such and such XI. We may be blessed with one leggie too many, but the philosophy is to back your instincts, and that is to assemble the best possible XI by taking into account the side you are playing against,” Shan, who guided Southern Punjab to the National T20 Cup last month, remarked.

Imad, on the other hand, was cautious in predicting the outcome of the Qualifier, while saying Karachi Kings will not relax this time after the heartbreak of the 2018 PSL season when lost the Qualifier — to eventual champions Islamabad United in Dubai and the Eliminator 2 against Peshawar Zalmi in Lahore.

“Obviously, those losses back then still haunt the mind. And although I didn’t play because of shoulder injury, I was in great agony as the [appointed] Karachi Kings captain when we were knocked out from the tournament,” Imad reminisced on Friday. “Ideally, it would be just wonderful to get into the final by defeating Multan Sultans, a task that is not going to be that simple.

“We rate Multan Sultans as extremely tough opponents who had been playing excellent cricket during the first leg [in February and March] and can never be taken lightly at any cost. But we are not that bad a side either with a good blend of youth and experience. Everything hinges on the match day when two equal teams come up against each other. I believe it would be a great contest,” the Karachi Kings captain added.

The soft-spoken Imad said Mohammad Amir is still a match-winner despite being ignored for Pakistan’s upcoming tour of New Zealand since the left-armer is keen on helping Karachi Kings clinch the elusive PSL trophy,

“That is the collective goal for Karachi Kings — to win the title — and knowing Amir at close quarters, I know deep down he has got burning desire to prove that he’s not a spent-force. His experience is vital for us upfront because Amir is one bowler who on the given day can turn it around in a matter of minutes,” the left-handed Pakistan spinning all-rounder stressed. “In the absence of Chris Jordan [who is unavailable due to England’s tour of South Africa], Amir and I are the senior bowlers in the Karachi side.”

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2020

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