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Sports

March 7, 2018
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We want you to play in Pakistan, Quetta tells Kevin Pietersen

DUBAI: With the home leg of HBL Pakistan Super League fast approaching, franchises have stepped up attempts to secure the services of their foreign stars for the last three games of the T20 league pencilled in for Lahore and Karachi.

While many foreign players have hinted that they would go to Pakistan if their teams qualify for the eliminators, several others have flatly refused.

One such star is Kevin Pietersen (KP).

The former England master blaster is still a big draw in the cricketing world and it will be a big boost for PSL if he agrees to play in Pakistan.

When asked last week whether he will travel to Pakistan if his team – Quetta Gladiators – qualified for the eliminators – KP made it clear that he has no such intentions.

The Gladiators, however, aren’t losing hope.

Team owner Nadeem Omar, a big cricket aficionado, and Quetta’s other big names like the side’s mentor Sir Vivian Richards and captain Sarfraz Ahmed have been trying to convince Pietersen to confirm his availability for the final three games in Pakistan.

Team manager Azam Khan said that many of the team’s foreign players including Australia’s Shane Watson have already given their consent.

“We have already spoken to several players about playing in Pakistan and Shane Watson, John Hastings, Jofra Archer and Rilee Rossouw are ready to visit Pakistan if Quetta qualifies for the next stage of the tournament,” Azam was quoted as saying by Geo.tv.

“We are still in talks with KP and I hope that the team management will be able to convince him to visit Pakistan for play-offs and finals of PSL to represent Quetta Gladiators,” he added.

“Sir Viv is also convincing KP along with Sarfaraz, Nadeem Omar and Moin Khan,” he said.

The Gladiators have bitter memories of last year’s PSL final against Peshawar Zalmi in Lahore. Many of their key foreign players refused to play in the final in Lahore and Quetta were duly hammered by a full-strength Peshawar team.

Meanwhile, England’s Ravi Bopara has confirmed that he will be playing in Pakistan if his team – Karachi Kings – qualified for the eliminators.

“It is a fantastic league and you can see how much it has improved Pakistan cricket. They have gone and won the Champions Trophy, look at the stars that have come out of the PSL. Hasan Ali is one of them, Shadab Khan is another one,” he said.

“So many players are going to come up in future and I am sure there are one or two this year as well,” he said.

“The standard is very high in this league. I have said it over and over again. I realized it in the first year that how tough this league can be. The bowling is superb, you have got some dangerous batsmen as well,” he said.

“I hope we get to the final, we are in a good position to reach that first game that can take us to the final. I hope we finish top of the league, win the playoff and fly to Karachi and I will be there,” Bopara said.

JP Duminy, the South African star playing for Islamabad United, has also indicated that he might be willing to play in Pakistan.

“There’s definitely a good chance of it,” Duminy said when asked whether he will travel to Pakistan if United made it to the next round.

“Pakistan is very passionate country and its people love the cricket. If there is an opportunity then there’s definitely a consideration for it,” he said.

Duminy gave full marks to PSL.

“Something that I have noticed in the competition is that the standard of cricket is very high. It’s a tough competition. It is always good to play good cricket,” he commented while talking about the level of competition in the PSL where he’s representing Islamabad United franchise.

“You have quite a high standard of international cricketers, both in Pakistan and international cricketers. With that in mind, your standard of cricket is always going to be high,” he said while adding that learning from the way international players train themselves for the games would definitely boost them.”


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