The fall of Gladiators

March 5, 2023

The most consistent team of the first four PSL seasons continues to disappoint its fans in this season as well

The fall of Gladiators

In the first four years (2016 to 2019) of Pakistan Super League (PSL), Quetta Gladiators remained one of the most successful teams, winning the title once (2019) and ending as the runners up twice (2016 & 2017). But since then, their performance has been below par.

The first edition of PSL, played in 2016, was won by Islamabad United who beat Quetta Gladiators by six wickets in the final.

The second edition was won by Peshawar Zalmi. Once again Quetta Gladiators remained unfortunate in the final.

In the fourth edition in 2019, Quetta didn’t miss the opportunity and beat Peshawar by eight wickets to finally win the title.

But since then, Quetta Gladiators have failed to maintain their standard of game. Their batting and bowling have been quite unimpressive. We have seen some individual performances, but the unit as a whole has been disappointing.

Despite having world class batsmen like Martin Guptill, Jason Roy, Iftikhar Ahmed and Umar Akmal, as a team they are failing to deliver.

Gladiators released two top power hitters - Rilee Rossouw and Azam Khan - and paid the price for it.

For the first four seasons, the Gladiators were perhaps the most predictably successful side in the league.

From those heady heights, Sarfaraz Ahmed’s team has suffered something of a drastic decline. The 2020 season was the first that ended in elimination at the group stage, with the Gladiators finishing fifth on net run rate.

Under the guidance and training of former mentor Sir Vivian Richards Quetta Gladiators’ performances were outstanding.

Richards was part of the purple team from the inaugural edition in 2016. His presence in the dressing room boosted the morale of the team. The West Indian great was seen fully involved in his team’s activities. He attended every training session, meeting and every team-bonding event.

Quetta has been looking for the services of Viv Richards again and he is also eager to join the squad and was expected to return as a mentor for the ongoing eighth edition. But due to some visa issues he hasn’t joined the team so far.

The Quetta Gladiators team manager Azam Khan said: “We have applied for Sir Viv Richards’ visa but there are some issues with the processing. However, we have filed all the necessary documents and are hopeful that he will join the side soon.”

The Gladiators are the only team to have retained their captain Sarfraz Ahmed from the first season, and it was easy to see why when Sarfraz led them from one successful campaign to another. Sarfraz is a sensible captain and true fighter who never gives up.

Richards also acknowledged Sarfraz’s leadership qualities. A few years back Richards said: “I like Sarfraz as a captain. He is very innovative and energetic and brings fresh energy to the team. I believe that will be vital for us. Just look how successful he has been for the Pakistan team.”

His previous two campaigns with the side came after he was sacked from the Pakistan captaincy and removed from the side altogether.

In that same period, his performances with the Gladiators have remained steady, but in high-scoring chases, Sarfraz’s anchoring role hasn’t been seen. Their performances have disappointed the fans greatly.

Various memes are circulating on social media in which people are seen criticising Quetta Gladiators. One fan wrote that first of all someone should take the mobile phone from the admin of Quetta Gladiators.

A dejected fan wrote that Quetta Gladiators are the new Lahore Qalandars.

With the current form, it would be difficult for Quetta to qualify for the playoffs. The other team that could be out in the first round is Karachi King as they have won only two matches in the first seven matches played.

The fall of Gladiators