Pakistan Super League begins in Dubai with hope of returning to homeland | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Pakistan Super League begins in Dubai with hope of returning to homeland

Pakistan Super League (PSL) starts in Dubai today with opener involving Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi. If the final in Lahore, on March 5, goes without a glitch then Pakistan’s hopes of hosting international cricket will get a major boost.

cricket Updated: Feb 09, 2017 22:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Pakistan Super League

Pakistan Super League’s (PSL’s) Hanif Mohammad Award for the Best Batsman being unveiled by Brendon McCullum, Misbah-ul-Haq and Kumar Sangakkara in Dubai on Thursday.(Pakistan Super League FB page)

In anticipation of finally returning to where it belongs, the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) got off to a charged up start in Dubai on Thursday with Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi playing the opening match.

Twenty20 stars from across the world converged to set in motion the PSL, the final of which is scheduled to be held in Lahore on March 5.

Already a huge success in the first edition last year, the PSL’s final aim is to return to Pakistan that hasn’t hosted any big nation since the 2009 terrorist attacks on the Sri Lanka cricket team, thereby depriving the people of quality cricket for a long time.

If the final goes without a glitch, Pakistan’s hopes of hosting international cricket will get a major boost.

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“Success of this season will enable us to open our gates to international cricket in Pakistan. The final will be played in Lahore, and we’re looking forward to it,” said PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to a huge round of applause from a packed house at Dubai Sports City before the inauguration on Thursday.

The star quotient of five-team PSL alone is staggering. Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Eoin Morgan, Kevin Pietersen and Shane Watson are the top names to take part in the league.

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Every one of them plays in the Indian Super League that is considered the biggest Twenty20 league in the world. Through PSL, Pakistan is hoping to compete with the popularity of IPL where Pakistani cricketers could only play in the first edition.

The inauguration of the second edition of the PSL in DUbai was a glitzy affair, with Jamaican reggae star Shaggy performing. Also on stage were music artists Ali Zafar and Shehzad Roy. In a great humanitarian cause, Zalmi had flown in 19 cancer patients from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Lahore to watch the opener on Thursday.

The number of matches in the second edition of the PSL has been increased from 16 to 24, with Dubai and Sharjah hosting all but the final. Islamabad United won the inaugural edition last year after defeating Quetta Gladiators in the final.