KARACHI: Islamabad United won the inaugural edition of Pakistan Super League, but were eliminated in the first eliminator by Karachi Kings in the second edition. Now, they’re – once again – aiming to lift the PSL trophy.
Ali Naqvi, the owner of Islamabad United, says that he’s confident that his team will be in action on March 25, when high-profile cricket would return to Karachi in the final of the third edition of Pakistan Super League.
“I am very confident that Islamabad United will be playing the final in Karachi on 25th,” said Naqvi in an exclusive chat with this correspondent.
“In sha Allah, we will give our best. Team composition is very good and I am very satisfied with the players picked to form this squad for the third season,” he added.
Naqvi said that his side struggled in batting department last season but the picks made in this season have transformed Islamabad United into a balanced side, once again.
“It is a very good and balanced side with performers in all departments of game. Bowling has always been our strength. We had some issues with batting in previous edition but this time we have good batsmen in our ranks as well,” he said, when asked about his team’s strengths.
His team also has the credit of introducing spin sensation Shadab Khan who is now Pakistan’s to-go bowler in limited over cricket.
“I feel proud to see Shadab performing as a top player. He will be performing for Pakistan for next 20 years,” a smiling Ali Naqvi said, with pride visible on his face.
“The biggest advantage of PSL is that we have got some very good new players like Shadab and Rumman. Some seniors have made a comeback as well and did well too,” he highlighted.
The biggest change in Islamabad’s outlook this season is in the change of team’s director, along with some changes in batting line-up.
Waqar Younis has replaced his former bowling partner Wasim Akram as director cricket. He is also the team’s bowling coach.
Ali said that Waqar is very passionate about training young bowlers.
“Waqar is very passionate about cricket, very passionate about training juniors. We have picked a young fast bowler Mohammad Husnain and Waqar is aiming to groom him. If a young player gets a mentor like Waqar at young age then imagine his confidence,” he spoke about the former captain and coach of Pakistan cricket team.
“Wasim and Waqar both are big names. We had great time with Wasim in the first two seasons. Team was very very strong. Waqar is equally a strong name,” he noted.
Ali Naqvi highlighted that PCB and PSL franchises are aiming to have most of the PSL matches in Pakistan in next two years to make the league stronger and sustainable.
“Franchises and PCB both are aiming to shift entire PSL to Pakistan because it is necessary for the league,” he said.
“PCB did the final in Lahore last year which was very beneficial. Crowd responded well, it was beneficial in monetary aspects as well. Karachi has a rich history of cricket and PSL final here will be a great thing. Over the next two, three years we must have 15 to 20 matches of PSL in Pakistan,” he concluded.