PSL team guide: Lahore Qalandars

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How do you think the franchises will fare in 2017? Which players are looking forward to seeing play? Do you believe the PSL final will be played in Lahore?

Join the debate by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?

It was well and truly a season to forget for Lahore Qalandars who finished bottom of the group and were the only side to miss out on the qualifying finals.


Chris Gayle was a huge disappointment for the franchise, unable to deliver the kind of blockbuster performances that his pay packet promised.








There was substance from Umar Akmal, who finished the tournament as the highest run-scorer but he was a rare flash of light in an otherwise dimly lit room.


Their struggles with the ball were highlighted by the fact that no-one other than Zafar Gohar and Ehsan Adil were able to take seven wickets or more.


WHAT IS NEW THIS YEAR?


There was major change at the top for Lahore as Aaqib Javed left his post as UAE coach to join the franchise as director of cricket and his first order of business was to hire a new captain.


Brendon McCullum was announced as their top pick for the draft and new skipper, Azhar Ali cast aside.


Gayle has also gone, as have fellow West Indians Dwayne Bravo and Kevon Cooper while Ajantha Mendis and Mustafizur Rahman are the other foreign players who will not return.


Cameron Delport will, however, the South African the only overseas to keep his place.


Jason Roy of England, Australian Chris Green and West Indies spinner Sunil Narine have signed, while McCullum will be joined by fellow Kiwis Anton Devcich, James Franklin and Grant Elliott.


Domestically, Sohail Tanvir is one of many new faces in part of an entire squad overhaul that only sees Azhar, Umar, Mohammad Rizwan, Yasir Shah and Zafar Gohar retained from the list of Pakistan nationals who played for Lahore last year.



HOW WILL THEY DO?


Lahore’s recruitment has seen a mass change from top to bottom and it will be interesting to see whether it is a case of too much too soon or just what the doctor ordered.


There is real potential in this team and with McCullum at the helm anything is possible. They should avoid finishing bottom this year but go no further than the second qualifying final.


SQUAD LIST


Captain: Brendon McCullum (overseas)


Batsmen: Saif Badar, Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman


All-rounders: Bilawal Bhatti, Usman Qadir, Sohail Tanvir, Aamer Yamin


Wicket-keepers: Mohammad Rizwan, Umar Akmal


Bowlers: Ghulam Mudassar, Yasir Shah, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Irfan


Overseas: Jason Roy (England), Cameron Delport (South Africa), Chris Green (Australia), Sunil Narine (West Indies), Anton Devcich (New Zealand), James Franklin (New Zealand), Grant Elliott (New Zealand), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand)




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#360view: PSL II success will depend on final venue

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With the remnants of party poppers in his hair and dangling from his clothes, PSL chairman Najam Sethi reiterated his absolute belief that this year’s final will be held in Lahore.

Sethi mentioned it earlier in the unveiling of this year’s brand new, sparkling trophy set – this time vehemently asserting that 2017 will be the year meaningful international cricket returned to the country’s shores.

However, the question was batted back when flanked foreign captains Brendon McCullum, Darren Sammy and Kumar Sangakkara were asked whether they’d already taken into consideration the trip to Pakistan when they accepted their pay cheques.

Sethi’s intervention stated that he would be meeting with all players and coaching staff on Tuesday to go over the issue with a definitive conclusion in favour of a Lahore final his obvious ambition.

But, with just three days to go until the first game of the second edition of the PSL, the issue was clear.

Why, so close to the start of the tournament, were players not already briefed, their concerns raised and discussed with meaningful conclusion either way?

Were they already sold the idea that Dubai [whose stadium is booked by the PSL for finals day in case it remains in the UAE] was the inevitable host and that any inference otherwise would jeopardise their participation and hence the tournament?

You can be assured that if they were already willing to travel we would have heard about it already.

As it stands, Sethi’s grand, admirable ambition hinges on Tuesday’s meeting. And, with it, the relative success of this sequel event.

The star names have come back in their droves, local talent has been given the opportunity to shine and progress to the national side, the franchises are established and the outreach programmes in Pakistan during this long off-season have been met with undeniable positivity and footfall.

But as we were told last year, this tournament’s main driver is to take cricket back to Pakistan.

It proved too much of an ask in 2016 but the inaugural edition’s success only sparked those hopes further and now we are at a crossroads.

Sethi is adamant that the final will be played in Lahore, his eggs firmly in that basket. Now, he must deliver on that promise.

Security must be guaranteed, not only for the players but media, agents, coaches, the TV companies and the supporters.

If Sethi can do so, with the support of police, the ICC and players’ unions then he will be heralded as the man that brought cricket back to Pakistan and will deserve every ounce of credit.

If not, we are looking at yet another example of governance, in and out of cricket or even sport, unable to deliver on promises founded on igniting nationalism and ultimately unrealistic hope.

It would damage both the PSL and Sethi’s reputation and a call being made so late in the day can be viewed as either wonderfully optimistic or simply impractical, misplaced idealism.

Time will tell whether Sethi is a pioneer or merely a dreamer. For Pakistan cricket and the Pakistan Super League, you pray it is the former.

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IN PICS: Ten players to watch at PSL 2017

Barnaby Read 6/02/2017

The Pakistan Super League returns to Dubai and Sharjah over the next month with a number of Pakistan and foreign players sure to catch the eye.

Ahead of this Thursday’s opening match in Dubai, Sport360’s Barnaby Read picks out ten of those players who will draw the headlines.

From Chris Gayle to Shahid Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq and Tymal Mills, here is our list.

Who are you most looking forward to seeing in action and which franchise do you see lifting the trophy this year?

Have your say and join the debate by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

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