By our correspondent
KARACHI: Karachi Kings newly-appointed coach and former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs believes his squad has the depth, adding, he had no issues with foreign stuff but it was great to have seen promising local youngsters who are part of the defending champions for the PSL-6.
“There is a lot of depth in the squad,” Gibbs told reporters on Thursday ahead of the HBL PSL-6 which will begin here at National Stadium from February 20.
“Although lot depends on the conditions in which we will be playing but captain, myself and Wasim have an idea what our playing XI might be,” said Gibbs.
“Obviously the last couple of days were important as I had to look at the local players. Obviously I know overseas players and I had no concerns about them as I have been following them playing at various levels. I have been very impressed by the local boys,” said Gibbs. “Mohammad Ilyas, Arshad Iqbal, Danish Aziz, Waqas Maqsood and Qasim Akram impressed me a lot. They have given me the right intensity. Their work ethics have been fantastic and they are very excited. I am expecting good things. They won tournament last year but we would not be thinking about that as it is a new challenge and it’s a fresh start and you take things game by game,” Gibbs said.
Last year in summer Kings lost their coach Dean Jones who died in India due to cardiac failure. And it was Wasim Akram who also served the additional responsibility of a head coach during the last November playoffs where Kings emerged as champions for the first time in the country’s marquee event.
And Gibbs was hired for this season. Having the experience of playing 23 T20 Internationals and 171 other T20s the South African test cricketer is very much excited to serve as a coach in the PSL.
“It’s a pleasure to be involved in the PSL. Have spoken to a lot of players who have played in the PSL. I know the standard of the PSL which is really good,” Gibbs said, who also served as head coach of Colombo Kings in the inaugural edition of Lanka Premier League (LPL) recently.
“Some players might feel that they would feel more pressure for being champions. It’s the best chance to go all the way again. Sign of a true champion is the desire to become champions over and over again. It’s an exciting challenge,” Gibbs said.
“I cannot say what would be our line-up. Tonight we are going to play a practice game. Dan Christian and Mohammad Nabi have recently landed whether they play tonight will remain to be seen,” he said.
Kings have some big names in the squad including
Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Chadwick Walton, Dan Christian, skipper Imad Wasim, Joe Clarke, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nabi and Sharjeel Khan.
Gibbs said that Babar Azam is the kind of character who knows his game, responsibility and can repeat his previous season’s performance.
“Babar is a world-class player. Obviously he is in top five in all formats around the world. He is a wonderful batsman, wonderful cricketer and he understands his game. He is in good spirit and had a couple of words with him yesterday. I am sure being the best player of the last season he would want to prove that himself that he can repeat that performance. He is good enough to make the adjustment. He knows his role, what he needs to play, which is most important,” Gibbs said. “I would say that he is one innings away from turning the things around. His standard is so high and people obviously expect him to make fifty every time he goes to the wicket. I think its little bit unfair,” he was quick to add. He also spoke high about Mohammad Amir, saying, he has the experience to bowl at any stage of the game. “Amir is also an experienced player. He understands the game and what is required of him. He can bowl at any stage of the game and is an allround performer. And his numbers speak for themselves. No concerns and everyone is looking forward to the coming league,” Gibbs said.
“We have a lot of choices. You need at least five specilist batsmen. We know the combination and the top five which I would not want to disclose at this stage but I am very excited to work with them,” said Gibbs.
“All-rounders also play a big part with regard to T20 cricket. Barring top six, you mix-up your allrounders, even two, three or five allroudners. This depends on with which combination you are going to go at the end of the day. It’s the strength of the squad,” the coach Gibbs.