KARACHI: Since its inception in 2016, the HBL Pakistan Super League has proved to be a brilliant platform for the cricketers from around the world to ply their trade.
The foreign contingent of cricketers in successive HBL PSL seasons have made no secret of their admiration for the young local talent and, since the leagues homecoming in 2020, they have thoroughly enjoyed the Pakistani culture, said a PCB communique on Monday.
After spending time in the country and witnessing the hospitality of the nation, these foreign players have emerged as Pakistan’s ambassadors.
The upcoming HBL PSL 7 starting at the National Stadium on Thursday, will serve as another avenue for cricketers from around the world to explore Pakistani cuisine, music and other cultural aspects with the first 14 matches in Karachi and the last 19 games in Lahore.
And, they are excited at the prospect.
“I am very excited to be touring Pakistan. It will be my second time in Pakistan and I am looking forward to sampling the cuisine and seeing the culture. I am extremely excited to be afforded another opportunity to represent Multan Sultans and looking forward to do great things for them. It is a great feeling to be joining my team-mates and I am looking forward to beating some of them in Fifa,” West Indies’ wicket-keeper/batsman Johnson Charles said.
England opener Alex Hales said, “The HBL PSL is a really high quality league. The quality of local players, especially bowlers, is really high and it makes the league extremely competitive. In this league, you do not know which four teams will qualify until the very last day and that makes it even more exciting.
“I am looking forward to joining Islamabad United again in this PSL. I played my first PSL match in Pakistan for Islamabad United back in PSL 4. The conditions in Pakistan are really good, and I enjoy the ball coming on to the bat. These are very different conditions to other Asian venues.”
South Africa’s Rilee Rossouw said, “I have great memories of playing in the HBL PSL. Every year, I have had great teammates, and hopefully this time will not be different. It is one of the highly competitive tournaments and it is very close to my heart.
“It is special to get the opportunity to defend the title and to be in the same dressing room. It is a challenge, I am looking forward to and I am really looking forward to this season. We have got a fantastic bunch of cricketers, led by a very good leader.”
England pacer Chris Jordan in his comments said, “The HBL Pakistan Super League is one of the most competitive leagues around and it is always a pleasure being involved. I am excited to be back with Karachi Kings. It is a great bunch and the last time we were together, we won it all. I am looking forward to another great showing and being able to do my part in getting back to the top.”
New Zealand’s aggressive opener Colin Munro commented, “I am seeking [to play] another season in Pakistan. HBL PSL in Pakistan is special. The fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in cricket. I always enjoy playing in Pakistan conditions, the pitches are good, the atmosphere is amazing and above all the hospitality is unmatched.
“I absolutely love playing for Islamabad United. The team truly is built like a family and it is one of the best dressing rooms I have been a part of. We have a good mixture of overseas pros and young Pakistani talent, and Shadab Khan is a wonderful captain to play under. His understanding of the game is second to none. The way he takes care of youngsters is exemplary. One of the roles I play with younger guys is to mentor them and teach them about pressures of league and international cricket.”
Lewis Gregory of England said, “I have liked being a part of the HBL PSL in the past. You see some real talent being showcased. I am excited to be part of the Karachi Kings family now, getting to know the crew, and going deep into the season and making memories.”
Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2022