Thursday August 11, 2022

PCB names former greats as mentors for junior league

By Our Correspondent
June 30, 2022

KARACHI: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Wednesday confirmed Darren Sammy, Javed Miandad, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as mentors for the inaugural Pakistan Junior League (PJL) which will be held in Lahore in October this year.

Miandad, who played in six World Cups from 1975-1996, will be the league mentor, while Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib will be the team mentors. This was announced by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja at a news conference at the National Stadium here.

The four stalwarts share six major world titles, 1,559 international matches, 43,057 runs and 992 wickets between them. Sammy and Shahid were team-mates in the Peshawar Zalmi team in 2017 when the team in yellow won the HBL Pakistan Super League at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Miandad will assist the mentors of the six sides and the players during the tournament. Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib will be part of the team dug-outs in the build up to and during the league, which will be played after Pakistan-England T20I series that ends on October 2.

The four cricketers will also serve as event ambassadors. Three more team mentors will be announced later.

“I am delighted that we have been able to attract Javed Miandad, Daren Sammy, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as mentors for the Pakistan Junior League. Their involvement will help us achieve one of our event objectives that is helping future generation of cricketers to achieve the match-winning approach and mindset,” PCB chairman Ramiz Raja said.

“The involvement of the four icons also confirms that we are on track for delivering a successful event that will go on to help Pakistan cricket in many ways. Besides creating a winning environment and developing skills and temperament of the teens, we are committed to developing new properties and Pakistan Junior League is an effort in that direction,” said Ramiz.

Meanwhile, Miandad has termed the PJL an exciting product. “I have always enjoyed being part of the coaching set-up which provides me with a chance to return to the field, work with players with bigger objectives and help them achieve excellence. Pakistan Junior League is an exciting and unique product, and I look forward to making a meaningful contribution to it,” he added.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy was also elated at being given the opportunity to be part of the league. “I am pleased to have been awarded with the opportunity to be involved in the inaugural Pakistan Junior League. I am fully behind the concept and believe it will assist in identifying and fast-tracking outstanding cricketers,” Sammy said.

“I have been part of Pakistan cricket system since 2016 and am a witness to some great local talent.

“I now look forward to working more closely with the teenagers, pass on my knowledge to them and help them fulfil their dreams of becoming international cricketers,” he said.

Afridi said: “I am a big advocate of investing in the future. If T20 cricket is a vehicle to promote and develop cricket, and identify young talent, then we need to create opportunities and come up with novel ideas to unearth hidden talent, and ensure their skills and performances are duly noticed and subsequently rewarded.”

Malik said: “I feel privileged and honoured to have been awarded with the opportunity to work as a mentor with one of the Pakistan Junior League sides. As someone who is actually a product of age-group cricket when I first played in the 1998 U19 World Cup, I can vouch for the importance and significance of this tournament.”

The Pakistan Junior League will be played on single-league basis with the top-four sides progressing to the play-offs. The top-two sides will play in the Qualifier with the winner qualifying for the final. The losing side will get a second chance to progress to the final where it will play against the winner of Eliminator 1 between the number-three and four ranked sides.