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February 21, 2020

Shoaib Malik to strengthen Zalmi’s middle order: Sammy


February 21, 2020

KARACHI: Former champions Peshawar Zalmi’s skipper Darren Sammy on Thursday said that inclusion of former Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik in the squad would give stability to the middle order.

“Shoaib brings stability to the middle order. Peshawar, unfortunately, heavily relied on the top order in the past. In first two seasons myself, Afridi and Pollard were there in the deep but to have that stability in the middle gives our team an edge where we could go out and play much more freely,” Sammy told a news conference here at National Stadium on Thursday.

Zalmi will face Karachi Kings in their opener on Friday (today) here at National Stadium. “Shoaib is an experienced player and also has served as captain and that makes my job easier. We are more than happy to have him in our line-up,” Sammy said.

He said that the best bowling unit of the PSL would win the tournament. “The pitches in Pakistan create a lot of excitement and I see the best bowling team will win this tournament,” said Sammy, who led the West Indies to two T20 world titles.

Sammy’s fitness was a concern for Zalmi in the previous two editions as he was even seen limping on the pitch several times. But he says he is now fully fit and will contribute in both batting and bowling. “I missed bowling in the last two PSL editions because two years ago I got injured. Coming back to full fitness was a bit of an issue.

If you check my record in the PSL you can really question that. I did what I was suppose to do as a leader and as low order finisher for the team. I feel really good and fully fit and that includes both bowling and batting,” Sammy said.

“Whenever the team will need me in bowling I will bowl there and will continue my role as a finisher in batting. You are right. CPL was not the best but I don’t dwell in the past. I always look forward to the future,” he said.

Sammy said he was excited to be part of PSL once again. “I remember in 2017 when the final was held in Lahore, it was a small step to have cricket back in Pakistan. It was the first shot. And today the entire tournament is being held here,” he said. “It shows that the PSL has a positive impact on Pakistan’s cricket and fans deserve to see their local and international players. I am very eager to start tomorrow,” Sammy said.

“Over the years we have played well. One thing about Peshawar team is when we pick up the team we all hold meeting and discuss our plans and strategies. Coach Akram has done a fairly good job in putting the team together. Our team is a mixture of exciting youngsters and experienced players and hopefully we will do well,” Sammy said.

He said that he has great love for Pakistan. “Not just me but all guys who have come here have shown their support to Pakistan,” he said. “In the World XI game Andrew Duplessie, Hashim Amla and all the guys came and all other teams who have come here . . . they support Pakistan. It’s good that my contribution is being recognised,” Sammy said.

Today’s Fixtures

Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi

2:00 pm PST

Multan Sultans vs Lahore Qalandars

7:00 pm PST