From our correspondent
KARACHI: Holders Quetta Gladiators’ skipper Sarfraz Ahmed and Islamabad United’s captain Shadab Khan on Wednesday were quite confident about their respective outfits’ desired performances in the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 which will kick-off here at National Stadium on Thursday.
Both the Gladiators and United would face each other in the six-team opener in what could be a high-voltage game on Thursday (today).
“We have a good side and would try our level best to perform the way we did in the last four seasons,” Sarfraz said in a pre-match news conference here at National Stadium.
“We will use the right combination. Shane Watson and Jason Roy would open the innings and Ahmed Shehzad would bat at number three. In the deep we have also some pinch-hitters like Sohail Khan, Mohammad Nawaz and Umar Akmal,” said Sarfraz, also a former Pakistan captain.
However Sarfraz was quick to add that there would certainly be pressure on them as they are defending champions.
Sarfraz wants to go up the order to play a key role in the team’s journey.
“I personally would try to bat at the top order and contribute to the cause of my team,” the Test stumper said.
Quetta Gladiators last year won the PSL-4 here at National Stadium after beating former champions Peshawar Zalmi by eight wickets in the final.
When asked whether he would try to return to the Pakistan team after clicking in the T20 event Sarfraz said: “His main focus is on the PSL. He wants his team to carry from where they had left last year. And if I am able to perfrom then the things could improve later on,” Sarfraz said, while hinting towards his return to the elite squad.
Sarfraz said that both Gladiators and Islamabad United have good relations off the field, saying, they are different when they go onto the field.
“It would be a tight clash between the two in the opener,” Sarfraz hoped.
Sarfraz said that the presence of their mentor Viv Richards give them motivation, adding, Shane Watson’s presence in the team helps the youngsters to learn.
Meanwhile Shadab said that their combination was right and they would try to win the event for the third time.
“We have a good combination and will try to become champions once again,” the international leggie said.
However he was quick to add that they would miss their key pacer Mohammad Sami this season and his absence would be felt as he was a great bowler.
To a querry Shadab said captaincy in the presence of some seniors, also including a few great foreign players, would not put him under pressure.
“Captaincy would be easy. They are professional cricketers and I would take advices from them and will play together,” Shadab said.
Shadab also informed that South African’s pacer Dale Steyn would join them after three matches.
“Yes he would miss the first three matches,” the skipper said. He did not rate any side as favourites.
“All are good teams and tomorrow we will try to take a good start against Gladiators,” Shadab said.
About the young all-rounder Ammad Butt, Shadab said effort would be made to give chance to Ammad up the order as he also batted so well in the practice game.
Former Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is the head coach of Islamabad United while former Test stumper Moin Khan is coaching Gladiators.
The opener will begin at 9pm.
From our correspondent