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December 8, 2019

Lahore Qalandars shift focus from stars to starlets in bid to improve fortunes


Sun, Dec 08, 2019
Lahore Qalandars have appointed Sohail Akhtar as their new captain. — Photo: File

With player’s draft for the fifth edition of PSL in Lahore, all the teams have completed their squads for next year’s extravaganza of Cricket in Pakistan.

A lot has been talked about teams’ combination and strategy, but – as always – Lahore Qalandars’ decision to appoint Sohail Akhtar the captain and include three unknown players in squad is the most debated topics.

Qalandars picked Farzan Raja, Mohammad Faizan and Dilber Hussain in their squad of 17 for the PSL. These three, along with Haris Rauf who made his mark in last edition, are product of Qalandars’ own players development program.

And, according to Qalandars management, the decision to pick rookies depicts the essence of Pakistan Super League, which is to promote our local young talent.

“What’s PSL all about?” asked Atif Rana – the CEO of Lahore Qalandars – when this correspondent questioned him about why they included youngsters in the squad.

“Isn’t it about promoting young talent of Pakistan…” Atif answered his own questioned.

Farzan Raja, once a law student, was picked by Qalandars from player development program last year, he also toured to Australia with the team where he earned a contract with Glenorchy cricket clucb in Australia, he also earned the opportunity to train with Hobart Hurricanes squad.

Dilber Hussain, once working in agricultural land in Jaranwala, was another fast bowling talent spotted thru the same player development program along with batsman Mohammad Faizan.

Earlier, Qalandars PDP product Haris Rauf made a remarkable debut in PSL and he has also been retained in our program.

“We have actually five players who are our very own, our own proud product,” said Atif Rana while naming Dilber Hussain, Farzan Raja, Mohammad Faizan, Haris Rauf and Sohail Akhtar.

“Investing on these youngsters will benefit not only Lahore Qalandars but it will also add strength to Pakistan Cricket,” he said.

Atif further said that Qalandars have invested on these youngsters from day one.

“We didn’t start PDP for photo-ops, we did it with a cause and you’ll see the fruits in the PSL,” he highlighted.

Franchises’ COO and team manager Sameen Rana echoed Atif Rana’s views. According to Sameen, it is important to have players who have hunger to win and hunger to prove themselves.

“We had super stars in past, from Gayle to McCullum and from Narine to AB de Villiers, we couldn’t win and we were criticized for relying on super stars, now we are focusing on our own local talent and we are still criticize,” said Sameen while expressing confidence that this young bunch will lead Qalandars to success in PSL.

“Every time it is about the local young talent’s performance in the PSL. We all talked about how Umer Khan, Mohammad Hasnain or Haris Rauf performed, there were no discussion about how already established players performed in the league,” he identified while emphasizing on need to give importance to your own talent.

Sameen also revealed why Sohail Akhtar was made captain of the side.

“We have good number of players from our own PDP, Sohail has led them in past and knows them well. He has been a proven successful captain with Qalandars,” said the franchise’s COO.

“He knows all our players and can use them accordingly, it was an easy decision to name him the captain,” Sameen mentioned.