Dubai: Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018 trophy for the third edition unveiling was held at the Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday. The third season of the PSL will kick off in Dubai on Thursday with a star-studded ceremony headlined by the legendary Sufi singer Abida Parveen and American pop star Jason Derulo. Pakistani heartthrobs Ali Zafar and Shahzad Roy will also be entertaining fans at the event.
The ceremony of the glittering trophy was followed by a press conference by the PSL chief Najam Sethi along with Darren Sammy, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Brendon McCullum, Misbah-ul-Haq and Sarfraz Ahmed. The captains of the PSL teams received the silverware trophy which was carried to the ceremony by defending champions Peshawar Zalmi skipper Darren Sammy.
Speaking on the occasion, chairman Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Najam Sethi said that he is grateful to the captains for participating in the tournament. He said that today is a big day for the Pakistan cricket as the third edition of the PSL is being introduced to the lovers of cricket after the success of two previous editions of the event.
Each of those present were given an opportunity to say a few words, starting with Sethi, who thanked Swarovski for making the trophy, and introduced each of the cricketers present at the dais alongside him.
Praising Karachi Kings skipper Imad Wasim, Sethi said, “He is one of the most talented players. Handing him captaincy of the Karachi Kings is an excellent opportunity. He is the youngest captain here. If the Kings win under Imad, he will be planted firmly in my crosshairs,” Sethi joked.
Sethi gave Sarfraz Ahmed, skipper of both the Quetta Gladiators and the national cricket team, his vote of confidence: “If someone can lead the Green Shirts, they can lead any side in the world.”
Each of the cricketers addressed the event by turn, starting with Shahid Afridi. “Najam Sethi has done a great thing by holding PSL. It was a challenge and he took it on,” he stated.
Defending champions, Peshawar Zalmi’s captain, Darren Sammy gave his best to all the other captains. “They are coming for my title,” he joked. “I hope the tournament becomes more successful. I hope my team is still in the running when we get to Karachi [for the final].”
Islamabad United captain Misbahul Haq thanked Sethi for his praise. “I think the last two years [of PSL] were wonderful. We enjoyed the competition, it keeps getting tougher with every season,” he said.
Brendon McCullum, captain of the Lahore Qalandars, thanked the sponsors and the Pakistan Cricket Board for their hand in the organisation of the PSL. “I couldn’t think of a better bunch to play against. You are an amazing country and you’ve done great things for cricket. I can’t guarantee success, but we will try our best.”
Sarfraz, who was introduced amid loud applause, also thanked the sponsors. “I hope this season goes as well as the last two. I hope to win this series in our home city of Karachi,” he said.
Shoaib Malik, captain of the new franchise Multan Sultans, appreciated Sethi’s conception and execution of the PSL. “It’s a great sign for Pakistani cricket. The team owners, sponsors and media have played a remarkable role,” he said.
Sethi also appreciated the Sultans. “Possibly the biggest leap forward has been the inclusion of the Multan Sultans. They have paid through their pocket to be a part of this. It has been an extraordinary gesture on their part.”
The tournament opener featuring defending champions Peshawar Zalmi and new entrants Multan Sultans will take place the same night at 10pm in Dubai.
A total of 34 matches will be played across different venues in Dubai, Sharjah, and Lahore. The final is to be held at Karachi’s National Stadium on March 25, according to the PSL schedule. During the season, all teams will play against each other twice before the top four teams qualify for the play-off stage.