LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators lifted the HBL Pakistan Super League trophy in 2019 following an eight-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi at the National Bank Cricket Arena. Before that, they had played the finals of the first two editions in 2016 and 2017.
The Gladiators from Quetta established themselves as one of the stronger units in the tournament before their form nosedived in the 2020 edition that saw them crash out of the tournament in the league stage for the first time ever and since then they are yet to finish in the top four.
Quetta Gladiators open their HBL PSL 8 campaign on Wednesday (15 February) when they play the hosts Multan Sultans at the Multan Cricket Stadium and hope to regain the pre-2020 form. Ahead of the tournament, PCB Digital spoke to their head coach, Moin Khan, about the impact of the HBL PSL on Balochistan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, who is the only captain to lead his side in all seven editions, as a leader of Quetta Gladiators, and how the HBL PSL has uplifted Pakistan cricket.
Below are the excerpts from the interview.
What has been the impact of Quetta Gladiators and HBL PSL on the development of cricket in Balochistan?
Quetta Gladiators and the HBL PSL have played an inspiring role for cricket in the region. Despite a lack of facilities in that part of the country and unfavourable weather conditions in winters, there has been a spike in interest for cricket here with local talent emerging and due to the association with the Quetta Gladiators brand.
In the first season, we had Bismillah Khan, and recently we have had Abdul Wahid Bangalzai and Abdul Nasir in the team, showing that Quetta Gladiators have created an impact.
We have also been instructed by the management to have representation from Quetta in the squad every season. For this purpose, we visit Quetta in the summers and conduct a local tournament to unearth young talent and induct them in the side.
What has been Sarfaraz Ahmed’s impact on the Quetta Gladiators dressing room?
Sarfaraz Ahmed has made an outstanding contribution to Quetta Gladiators. He has performed as an individual and captain of the team. He is a determined and hardworking cricketer and knows how to make a comeback. He is a street-smart cricketer and knows how to lead the side, which is reflected by Quetta Gladiators’ impressive win percentage across all seven seasons.
We will see a more buoyant Sarfaraz in action as he would be looking to carry forward the momentum of his player of the series winning performance against New Zealand.
What goes into making a playing XI and what is your philosophy as a coach?
We have a close look at the conditions and try to develop a consensus when we sit together to device our playing XI. We even involve our owners as they are the most concerned because they are financing the whole franchise.
I want my team to play fearless cricket, because that is the demand of this format and you would stay under pressure if you don’t play that way. Also, clarity is of utmost importance.
What do you think has been the impact of the HBL PSL on Pakistan cricket?
HBL PSL has emerged as a big brand [since its inception in 2016]. There were doubts about its impact on our cricket when it was being launched, but the HBL PSL has taken the graph of Pakistan cricket to new levels. And, it is not only restricted to the game development, but also from a business perceptive. Since the HBL PSL is followed worldwide, many brands have connected with the tournament.
It has produced many cricketers for Pakistan who have done well in this format and created an impact. International cricketers also want to play the HBL PSL, because of its competitive nature. You get to see top cricket in the HBL PSL because of the bowling as Pakistan’s top brass of fast and spin bowlers play in it and the foreigners enjoy being here.
This league can be compared with any league around the world, because of the pitches, conditions, the quality of the opposition and players, and I feel the HBL PSL has improved the graph of Pakistan cricket.
Leave a Reply