PSL 4 Tournament Preview
With the Pakistan Super League all set to flourish into its fourth year, it promises to be bigger, better and fatter than ever. Like every other T20 league, it is bound to throw up exciting future prospects, blood young guns and present opportunities for mature heads to stage a comeback. But what the PSL has is its own aura that radiates enthusiasm so congenial that will look to awaken the diverse mix of the rich Pakistani culture in every bit of the contest that will be played out live.
So before we dive into a month of intensifying and thrilling cricketing action, here’s a preview of the PSL 2019.
How long is the tournament going to be and which cities are hosting it?
The fourth-coming season (excuse the pun!) will start on February 14 and will run till March 17. Defending champions Islamabad United will take on Lahore Qalandars in the opening encounter in Dubai.
For the first time, the league games will be held in Pakistan, with the first match being played in Karachi. Karachi Kings will take on Peshawar Zalmi on March 7. The first Eliminator will be played in Lahore, while the second Qualifier, the second Eliminator and the Grand final of the tournament will be played in Karachi.
How does it seem bigger than last year?
The impact high profile players like AB de Villiers can bring out only has bigger things in store for Pakistani cricket. After having chosen to tour Pakistan in his maiden stint in the league, his presence stands to draw large crowds and larger television audience globally. This in turn could help generate more revenue but there is more to it than what meets the eye.
If he lends his voice to the ever-growing appeals to bring International cricket back home, there could be more nations who will seriously consider touring Pakistan in the future. So all in all, AB’s presence seems like a win-win situation as the league looks to promote Pakistani cricket and project their cricketing might in a convincing fashion.
How is the fan connect this year?
Sensing the ‘josh’ among the fans, the Commissioner of Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani declared Karachi as the ‘Cricket City’ and suggested that steps were being taken to replicate fan parks as seen in the IPL. There would be arrangements of live streaming at different parks in the city with the support of former test cricketer Sadiq Muhammad as an organiser open to public.
What sort of players will be under the spotlight?
PSL has always produced quality spinners in the form of Shadab Khan, Usama Mir, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Nawaz to name a few. Fast bowlers like Rumman Raees, Anwar Ali, Mir Hamza, Junaid Khan will look to throw their ring in the hat for an International comeback.
T20 being a multifaceted format, batsmen and all-rounders will form a vital cog in the wheel for any team. If the recent tournaments like the Afghanistan Premier League and T10 were anything to go by, expect the games in the UAE leg to be a run fest.
What significance will the PSL hold for players ahead of the World Cup?
The forthcoming edition of the PSL holds more significance for the players with Mickey Arthur, the head coach of the Pakistani National Team, placing high value on the performances during the league as a catalyst for a place in the World Cup squad to be played in England and Wales starting April. One of the added incentives is obviously the opportunity to play in leagues like the MSL,CPL,etc.
With majority of the squad taking shape, game time and fitness will be of prime importance for the senior players. Mickey Arthur asserted, “I think we've got probably 19 players for 15 positions. PSL always throws up one or two good individual performers, so we are going to have a look at some of our borderline players, the guys that we are not sure about.
We have to look at them during the Australian series and then we will make our minds up leading into England, obviously we will be taking 15 there. The key is players get clarity in terms of their roles and role clarity is particularly important."
Any exciting overseas players?
With every season providing opportunities to more and more uncapped overseas players, many eye the league as a boost they require for a World T20 berth for their respective countries. Outside their respective domestic tournaments, PSL has been a nest where young T20 birds spread their wings to glory.
Aaron Summers, with just one BBL match under his wing, is a prime example of potential over player. Tom Moores, Wayne Madsen, Phil Salt, Liam Livingstone and James Vince are a few English imports who would be looking to maximise their playing opportunities outside of their county commitments.
Written by Malhar Hathi
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