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March 6, 2018

Zaheer confident Zalmi can retain HBL PSL crown

Sports

March 6, 2018

SHARJAH: Zaheer Abbas has witnessed first-hand the reasons that make Peshawar Zalmi the most successful franchise in the brief history of HBL Pakistan Super League.

As President of the Peshawar franchise, the former Pakistan Test captain spent several days with Darren Sammy’s team in the UAE and is now convinced that Zalmi has what it takes to win the coveted T20 crown.“The biggest strength of Peshawar Zalmi is unity in the squad,” Zaheer told ‘The News’ in an interview.

“I was really impressed by the support each and every member of the team shows for the other. I’ve seldom seen such closeness in a team. They really gel well together and that I believe is the reason why Zalmi have done better than other teams in the PSL,” the legendary batsman added.

Zaheer witnessed the camaraderie among the Zalmi players and officials during his stay in Dubai and even though Peshawar are currently trailing the top-placed Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings on the PSL points-table he is confident that the team will go all the way in the contest this year as well.

“The thing is that it’s tough to compete against a team in which there is complete harmony and everyone is focused on achieving the ultimate goal.“From (the team owner) Javed Afridi, who is a great cricket aficionado, down to the reserve players and the support staff, there is this sense of ownership. There is this big purpose and all of them are striving to achieve it,” Zaheer said.

Zaheer also praised the captaincy of Darren Sammy, stressing that the West Indian star is bringing the best out of his team.“He (Sammy) is a great team man and is well-respected by his players and that is the reason why he gets the best out of his players,” Zaheer said.

Zaheer, who accepted the role of Peshswar Zalmi President in the lead up to PSL 3, also hailed former Pakistan captain Younis Khan.“Younis is a great motivator and is doing a great job as the team’s mentor. I also believe that Mohammad Akram (Peshawar’s coach) is one of the best coaches around and is doing a fine job.”

Zaheer, who will rejoin Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai on March 8, ahead of their Friday night’s game against Islamabad United.He foresees a smooth ride for the third-placed Zalmi to the business end of the tournament and expects them to be one of the teams playing in the March 25 finale in Karachi, his hometown.“It will be great to have Peshawar Zalmi in the final in Karachi. They have the guts and determination to not just reach the final but also win the PSL title again.”

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