After guiding Islamabad United to become champions of Pakistan Super League’s first edition, Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram take up the challenge to guide the newest team of PSL, Multan Sultans.
Lahore was lit up as it served as the center of universe for cricket enthusiasts, the cricket crazy nation welcomed the sport on its parched soil with great enthusiasm. Jubilant cricket fans queued outside Gaddafi Stadium hours before the match, donning the colors of their favorite teams, carrying posters & banners to support them. It was a full house of nearly 26,000 spectators at Gaddafi Stadium who roared the message of peace. The atmosphere was electrifying, the crowd cheered at every ball and chanted ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, ‘Zalmi Zalmi’,‘Quetta Quetta’ slogans at the top of their lungs. Sunday, March 05, 2017 was the day PSL final came home.
Riding on the huge success of the first two editions of the league, PSL is gearing up for its third edition which is going to be a grand affair. Pakistan Super League 2018 looks even more promising with the addition of a sixth team, the Multan Sultans. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) shortlisted five regions for the sixth franchise namely Hyderabad, Dera Murad Jamali, FATA, Faisalabad and Multan on the basis of their performance in domestic structure, earlier this April. Dubai based Schon Group won the rights to own the sixth team for the reserve price of $5.2 million per year for an eight-year contract. With this, Multan Sultan worth $ 41.6 million became the most expensive team of PSL, surpassing Karachi Kings.
From 50s to 70s, Pakistan cricket was dominated by Karachi and Lahore mainly, known as cricket nurseries. However, during the 80s and 90s players started emerging from different parts of the country including South Punjab. The soil of South Punjab produced gems of the game like Inzimam-ul-Haq, Mushtaq Ahmed, Waqar Younis and Elahi brothers – Manzoor Elahi, Zahoor Elahi and Saleem Elahi. Youngsters including Sohaib Maqsood and Amir Yameen come from the same region.
Multan, known as the city of Saints is Pakistan’s fifth largest city. Multan’s inclusion in PSL means that youngsters from Southern Punjab will get a chance to represent their region. The sixth and newest side in the competition has already announced its first nine picks from the pre-draft pool. The Sultan squad has roped in all-rounders Shoaib Malik and Keiron Pollard in Platinum category. Former Srilankan skipper, Kumar Sangakara and Sohail Tanvir are picked for Diamond category while Mohammad Irfan and Junaid Khan for Gold. Sohaib Maqsood, Irfan Khan and Kashif Bhatti are their silver picks for PSL 3. Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram, has taken the role as director of cricket operations for Multan Sultans while ex-Australian cricketer Tom Moody is all set to take the responsibility as the team’s head coach.
Multan Sultan’s logo was unveiled on September 22 at a ceremony in Karachi. “We will fight till the last ball”, expressed Wasim Akram at the event. He was joined by the owners, Asher Schon and Khizer Schon who graced the occasion with their presence. The Sultans will play in third edition wearing a black shirt with yellow borders. The official kit carries the colors of the City of Saints with the emblem depicting the strength of Sultans. The promo of the new team features Wasim Akram himself, shot at Multan Cricket Stadium located off Vehari road in the suburbs of Multan.
With the inclusion of a sixth team, the number of matches are set to increase from 24 to 34 in the third edition of PSL. At the same time, the popularity of the cricket league will increase, more youngsters will get an opportunity to showcase their talent with the bat or bowl, better players will emerge and this will improve the quality of the game altogether. Fans’ interest is likely to increase as they will watch out for what the Sultans will bring to the party. PCB is expecting to generate more revenue from the third edition of the league.
The cricket fans surely look forward to a better and bigger PSL 2018 as the new team ‘Multan Sultans’ is all set to enthrall the crowd.