Wasim Akram has described the Sunday night final of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore as “a great occasion” for the country and scores of cricket fans, expressing hope that it will be staged without any hitches and pave the way for more cricket in Pakistan in the future.
Akram, the cricket director for Islamabad United and a brand ambassador of the PSL, shifted to the commentary box after his team lost to Karachi Kings in the second qualifying final on Wednesday.
Danny Morrison, Mel Jones and Alan Wilkins, who commentated on the PSL up until the third qualifying final between Karachi and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on Friday all refused to travel to Lahore citing security concerns, while Ian Bishop has flown home to be a part of the commentary team for the West Indies v England series.
“The PSL final in Lahore is a great occasion for Pakistan as well as for the millions of fans in the country, who have been deprived of watching their players for some time now,” Akram told Wisden India. “I am myself going to Gaddafi Stadium after ten years so it’s a great occasion and we all hope and pray that it happens successfully because a lot depends on this match. Our future in cricket also depends on this.”
Peshawar, who beat Karachi to qualify for the final, have the edge against Quetta Gladiators in the title round, felt Akram.
“Zalmi will have some advantage because of their foreign players, while Quetta’s top foreign players are no more with them. But Twenty20 is different and if you play well you carry the day, so no team is favourite,” he said, adding that he was impressed by Sarfraz Ahmed, the Quetta captain. “I like Sarfraz’s aggressive style and since he is also Pakistan’s one-day and Twenty20 captain, that is an added advantage for him.”
Quetta, who lost to Islamabad in the final last year, are going to be without Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Rilee Rossouw, who have been replaced by Anamul Haque, Sean Ervine, Elton Chigumbura and Morne van Wyk.
This article originally featured on WisdenIndia.com and was written by Shahid Hashmi.