Pakistan wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed insisted the forced break he has had in international cricket will have no impact on his performances as he leads the Quetta Gladiators in the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League.
PSL 2019 kicked off in Dubai on Tuesday with all six captains along with Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani present at the trophy unveiling ceremony at the Dubai Cricket Stadium.
The spotlight was understandably on Quetta and Pakistan skipper Sarfraz following his four-match suspension for racist remarks directed at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. Not only is Sarfraz returning to competitive cricket after that unsavoury incident, he will also have the task of taking Quetta past the finish line after ending as the losing finalists in the first two editions.
“Three years we came very close and unfortunately could not win the final twice. Inshallah, we will try our best. We will try to gain momentum from the start so that it helps us towards the end,” Sarfraz said.
The wicketkeeper batsman said the distraction caused by the suspension won’t have an impact on his campaign.
“I don’t think there will be an impact. This is a different competition. It’s good that I got some rest,” was his terse reply.
Mohammad Sami – captain of defending champions Islamabad United – along with Sarfraz, Imad Wasim (Karachi Kings), Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi), Mohammad Hafeez (Lahore Qalandars) and Shoaib Malik (Multan Sultans) were in attendance at a packed Dubai stadium press room.
IMPACT OF PSL
Sarfraz and Imad lauded the impact the tournament has had on nurturing local talent and providing them a platform to reach the next level.
“PSL has made a huge difference. It has given Pakistan very good players. You have Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees. And many others. I hope as competition improves, the players from our domestic circuit will get to play in a competitive environment. I hope we will get many good players,” Sarfraz said.
Pakistan all-rounder Imad believes the PSL has had two major impacts – providing an opportunity to youngsters to showcase their talent and also giving fans in Pakistan a chance to witness world class cricket in the ground and not just on TV screens.
“The way PSL has developed and given young players a chance, the biggest aspect is Pakistan cricket has improved. All good players in the domestic circuit have been given such a big platform to showcase their talent. For me, that’s the biggest thing.” Imad said.
“The second aspect is that it will be in Pakistan. I want that whatever and however it is, it should be in Pakistan. All of us are not playing for teams but Pakistan.”
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