DUBAI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Karachi Kings will be led by Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara in the next edition of the Twenty-20 League, ARY News reported.
During a press conference in Dubai, former Karachi Kings captain Shoaib Malik announced that the Sri Lankan great will lead the franchise in PSL 2017 as “Sangakkara is capable of doing anything for the team”.
“Karachi Kings is my own team and I am a part of its development. I am greatly pleased to announce that Kumar Sangakkara will be our captain and will lead Karachi Kings,” said Malik.
The Karachi Kings franchise chose the Twenty-20 format superstar Chris Gayle along with the Sri Lankan legendary duo Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in its already strong squad in the PSL drafting ceremony held on Tuesday.
The team retained its former captain Shoaib Malik, England’s Ravi Bopara, speedster Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan, Imad Wasim and Saifullah Bangash while selecting emerging players Abrar Ahmed and Abdul Hameed.
The popular franchise also roped in Karachi’s talented batsman Khurram Manzoor and Hyderabad’s Kashif Bhatti.
‘Delighted that Salman stepped in’
Speaking on the occasion, PSL chairman Najam Sethi claimed that he is delighted that ARY Network President and CEO Salman Iqbal stepped in and bought a PSL franchise.
“With him, came the media. With the result that franchises have now got media partners. This is going to be good for cricket because without media carrying the messages of franchises and the message of PSL, all would have been lost,” said Sethi.
“I am delighted that Salman stepped in,” said PSL chairman Najam Sethi
Sethi said that through PSL, Pakistan has been able to show to the world that the it can not only handle a professional outfit like the league.
“Cricket will come home to Pakistan and the PSL will be the door,” said the PSL chairman.
He also announced that next year there will be a sixth team in the third edition of the league and its duration will extend to 38 matches.
‘PSL has completely changed the game of cricket in Pakistan’
ARY Network President and CEO Salman Iqbal reminisced how PSL chairman Najam Sethi persuaded him to buy a team.
“Mr Sethi said what are you thinking, this is no time to think, buy a team, you will remember this for your whole life, said Iqbal.
The ARY Network CEO and President maintained that PSL has completely changed the game of cricket in Pakistan and the game has benefited immensely from the league.
About the franchise’s famed talent hunt program ‘Khiladi Ki Khoj’, the Karachi Kings owner said that, keeping in view the response of the program, the franchise has decided to make four teams comprising 60 players namely Karachi Whites, Karachi Greens, Karachi Blue and Karachi Yellow.
“These 60 players will play each other in a tournament in December and 15 players will be selected from them to form Karachi A team, that team (Karachi Kings A) will fly with Karachi Kings to Dubai for the PSL,” said Salman Iqbal.
The ARY Network CEO said that his franchise is in talks with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to move these players to London so they can play club cricket in UK.
“Out of those 15 players, six players will stay back for six months and will be trained by a lot of amazing coaches both international and local,” added Salman Iqbal.
He expressed hope that the franchise will provide 100 to 150 talented players to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The Karachi Kings owner also thanked the sponsors of the team for putting their confidence in the team and believing in his vision.