KARACHI: Lahore Qalandars may have not been able to qualify for the play-offs in the first two seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), but they are confident of changing their fortunes with a new squad in the third edition of the league.
With Aaqib Javed replacing Paddy Upton as head coach. Atiq-uz-Zaman and Kabir Khan joining him in the coaching staff, mentoring by stalwarts such as Inzamam ul Haq and Shoaib Akhtar has given confidence to the owners of Lahore Qalandars for a good show in the league this season.
Atif Rana, the CEO of Lahore Qalandars said that team has put a massive effort in preparing for the league and said that no stone was left unturned in achieving perfection.
“Preparation is the key to perfection and we have left no stone unturned in order to achieve that. We have put in our 200 percent effort in order to cover the gaps and overcome our flaws from the last two seasons in the combination and performance of the team,” Atif Rana told Geo.tv in an exclusive chat.
“Obviously we are 100 percent confident,” Atif said asked him if he’s hoping for a change in team’s fortune this year.
He added that Lahore Qalandars will not let down fans this season.
“We will not disappoint our fans this time. Last two seasons didn’t go as planned but we have worked really hard all year round in order to promote and develop cricket in Pakistan and provide a promising platform for youngsters. And hopefully, we’ll continue doing so and won’t disappoint our fans this time,” he said.
“Last time there were a few reasons of our loss. We faced some setbacks prior to the second season of PSL. A few of our players were injured and couldn’t play for the team. This time we have a good team combination and we have really worked hard with them in order to furnish the skills and the team as a whole. So we are confident in our preparations and hopefully this will show in our performance,” Rana hoped.
Rana also expressed confidence in Brendon McCullum’s leadership skills and said the way the team fought while defending low targets last season was a reflection of Brendon’s quality as captain.
“Brendon is an exceptional leader and a great human being. Unfortunately we couldn’t win last time but Brendon performed brilliantly as a leader. You might remember our match against Zalmi in which we scored 59, but due to Brendon’s exceptional leadership and Yasir Shah’s bowling spell we pushed the opponents. We are confident that he will inspire everyone with his great leadership skills in this season as well,” he said.
Talking about the team’s strength, Rana Atif said that there is a lot of power in Lahore Qalandars squad in the form of Brendon, Chris Lynn, Fakhar Zaman, Umar Akmal and Sohail Akhtar.
“We are expecting great amount of sixes not only from the Bash brothers but all the other power hitters in the squad as well,” he said.
“Sohail Akhtar is another player to watch out for. We are very hopeful and confident that all our young Qalandars will perform to the best of their abilities. All the training and grooming provided to them all year round by cricketing legends such as Aqib Javed will hopefully benefit them and the team as well,” he said.
Talking about the success of PSL, the CEO of Lahore Qalandars said that the way people in Pakistan have supported the PSL is a great sight.
“Everyone in Pakistan is enjoying it. be it fans, PCB, franchise owners or players and this can continue to grow in the future and give serious competition to other leagues as well,” Atif said.
He, however, said that it would be premature to comment on how many of Lahore Qalandars’ players will arrive in Pakistan to play the matches in Lahore and Karachi.
“All will be decided in due course as the tournament progresses. Right now we are only concentrating on getting the tournament started with a bang and on a high note. Our main focus, for now, is on our preparation and performance,” he concluded.