Dialogue Pakistan hosted “Cricket Comes Home” on Saturday, February 1st with big names in the local sports realm appearing for an insight into the upcoming PSL 2020’s significance in the local cricketing scene.
Former cricketer and current coach, Moin Khan was one of the guest speakers, along with sports columnist for Dawn Newspaper, Rishaad Mahmood, and cricket host and anchor, Waheed Khan. The session was moderated by cricket commentator, Mirza Iqbal Baig.
The evening began with Mirza Iqbal briefly highlighting Moin Khan’s cricket achievements and seeking an overview on the league’s initiation in Pakistan.
“This is a good decision on the behalf of the current government, and ofcourse Imran Bhai,” Moin Khan said. “It is going to be a fantastic tournament for the players and the fans following cricket as well. Stadiums will well up with enthusiasm, passion will reign everywhere. The international value attached to PSL will rise positively.”
He went on to praise the PSL in all its glory since the past five years,
“Pakistan’s PSL is the second most watched sports tournament in the world. I’m very glad. The cricketers pay homage to their respective cities by playing for them in the tournament.”
Khan appreciated the young talent of the current teams and noted the clear variation of good batting and balling in the Pakistani team as opposed to their Indian counterparts.
“I see talent in Pakistan, the kind I haven’t seen anywhere else,” he said.
“In both countries, fielding was a weak-point but because of these leagues, fielding has definitely improved,” he added.
Rishaad Mahmood talked about regular cricket finally coming home and invigorating the fans. The mood of the fan-base should be taken into account as well, he said.
“In every city, the pitch is different, it takes on a character of its own. This (tournament) is a challenge for the team and all those who are passionate about cricket.”
He said that in order to create a tournament, the crowd’s excitement should also be taken into consideration. The selection should be different from that of a test. PCB has had a lot of internal issues – they’re going to have to show themselves differently to the world now, he went on to say.
Waheed Khan agreed while reaffirming that it is indeed going to be a challenge.
Moin Khan is head coach of the Quetta Gladiators this season, and the stress is on Sarfaraz Ahmed – the team captain. Khan praised the 32-year-old cricketer for his respect and humility – two important qualities needed for one to lead. However, his batting needs improvement, Khan said. “There’s so much talent in him, he has to make a comeback.”
Rishaad Mahmood said that Quetta’s competition has become stronger than before. The rapport and understanding of the team is good, they will hopefully be able to defend their title.
The opponents are strong, Moin stated, but the format of the sport is the sort that some sixers get you somewhere, other’s don’t. It is difficult to predict.
“The reason we are on top is because we try our hardest to succeed. Our timely effort is positive and there is clarity of mind in the players. We don’t put our energy in the meetings but the entire performance. Quetta gladiators will succeed, I believe in them,” Moin said.
Rishaad, while losing confidence in Peshawar Zalmi’s success, appreciated Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal’s good form for the season.
In regards to the pitfalls of the teams, Moin remarked, “Our teams don’t have consistency. The selection committee doesn’t stick to decisions, and they take criticism so seriously that it leaves them (the players) disheveled.”
Multan Sultans’ captain have not been announced as of yet showing uncertainty on their part. Moin added that they should come up with a clear strategy while Rishaad appreciated the team’s good selection, however, they should improve themselves from previous matches.
“Afridi is a strong weapon though,” he added.
Moin praised Islamabad United’s team taking into account the young players. “The Misbah factor could pull them down,” Rishaad noted.
Lahore Qalandars are going to have to work a lot harder, the guests unanimously agreed.
For the Karachi Kings, Moin appreciated the teams’ form and selection while Rishaad and Waheed agreed with him.
The session reached its finality with a question-and-answer session from the audience, most of whom consisted of budding and seasoned journalists.
The speakers anticipated great results from the PSL this year and hoped that audiences yearning for memorable performances from their favourite teams, will finally be able to quench their thirst for some cricket zeal.