KARACHI: No franchise has won more titles in the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) history than Islamabad United. They made it to the final twice in the first three seasons — 2016 and 2018 — and clinched the glittering trophy on both occasions.
Islamabad, who had a dreadful PSL in 2020 when they ended up bottom of the piles — may have lost the services of Luke Ronchi, Colin Ingram, Saif Badar and Akif Javed but have considerably bolstered their squad for the upcoming edition. However, they have suffered a crippling blow with the unavailability of Colin Munro — who had been retained by the franchise — because of a quarantine system put in place by New Zealand and would have not reached his home country until the middle of May.
While Islamabad, who will be again led by Pakistan all-rounder Shadab Khan, are still going through process of filling in the slot created by Munro’s forced absence, the two-time winners have added the batting firepower of England discard Alex Hales, Pakistan paceman Hasan Ali and the emerging pace-bowling sensation Mohammad Wasim in a well-balanced squad that could go all the way this time.
But one familiar figure will be glaringly missing from the Islamabad dugout for the first time is the celebrated physio Errol Alcott — who was the mastermind behind the scenes of Australia’s all-conquering cricket sides from 1984 to 2006.
According to the Islamabad team sources, the 65-year-old Alcott said he dislikes the bio-secure bubble life at his age. His replacement is Jason Pilgrim from Trinidad who works as a lecturer at the University of West Indies and has also trained Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago in cricket and his region in athletics as well as having previously served as a trainer for Michigan Youth Wrestling Association.
Squad: Shadab Khan (captain), Alex Hales, Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Lewis Gregory, Asif Ali, Phil Salt, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Rohail Nazir, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Musa Khan, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Mohammad Wasim (four players to be added).
Backroom staff: Johan Botha (head coach), Saeed Ajmal (assistant coach), Michael Smith (batting coach), Rumman Raees Khan (bowling consultant), Hanif Malik (fielding coach), Jason Pilgrim (physio/trainer), Rehan-ul-Haq (general manager), Hassan Cheema (strategy manager), Zukhruf Mumtaz Khan (media manager).
Season M W L T NR/Abd SR Rank
2016 11 7 4 0 0 63.63 1st
2017 9 4 5 0 0 44.44 4th
2018 12 8 3 1 0 75.00 1st
2019 12 6 6 0 0 50.00 3rd
2020 10 3 6 0 1 27.37 6th
Overall 54 28 24 1 1 53.77 —
Opponents M W L T NR/Abd SR
Karachi Kings 14 8 6 0 0 57.14
Lahore Qalandars 10 7 2 1 0 75.00
Multan Sultans 5 3 2 0 0 60.00
Peshawar Zalmi 13 6 6 0 1 50.00
Quetta Gladiators 11 4 7 0 0 36.36
Islamabad United’s fixtures (all times PST)
Feb 21: vs Multan Sultans (Karachi, 7:00pm)
Feb 24: vs Karachi Kings (Karachi, 7:00pm)
Feb 27: vs Peshawar Zalmi (Karachi, 7:00pm)
March 1: vs Quetta Gladiators (Karachi, 7:00pm)
March 4: vs Lahore Qalandars (Karachi, 7:00pm)
March 6: vs Quetta Gladiators (Karachi, 2:00pm)
March 7: vs Karachi Kings (Karachi, 7:00pm)
March 12: vs Lahore Qalandars (Lahore, 8:00pm)
March 13: vs Multan Sultans (Lahore, 7:00pm)
March 15: vs Peshawar Zalmi (Lahore, 7:00pm)
Published in Dawn, February 14th, 2021