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Monday Feb 17 2020
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Was mentally prepared to lead Lahore Qalandars: Sohail Akhtar

Lahore Qalandars Captain Sohail Akhtar. Photo: Screengrab

Lahore Qalandars decision to appoint Sohail Akhtar as their captain for this year’s edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) may have left many people confused, but for the opening batsman it was anything but that. 

In a conversation with Geo.tv, Akhtar stated that he had a feeling that he would be appointed the skipper of the Lahore based franchise. He shared that the management of the franchise had been grooming him for the role for the last two years.

The skipper felt confident that he would live up to the trust that the management has shown in him.

Qalandar’s decision to appoint Akhtar as their skipper for this years season had left many people confused as the franchise boasts many experienced players which could fill the role. However, Akhtar who emerged from the franchise’s player development programme was being groomed for the role for quite some time now.

“I am with franchise for three years and the management backed me up,” said Akhtar. He shared that he has captained the development team in Australia and also in the Abu Dhabi Cup. He added that he realised that the franchise was grooming him for captaincy after winning the tournament in Abu Dhabi.

Also read: Lahore Qalandars' CEO says squad depicts PSL's essence

“I was groomed for two years and I said yes at once when the management told me that they wanted to appoint me as the captain of the franchise,” the 33-year-old added. 

The explosive opener added that he under no pressure. “The presence of senior players will benefit me,” Akhtar said.

He added that senior players Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt and Fakhar Zaman will be with him throughout the tournament. 

The Qalandars skipper shared that the captaincy of the franchise was a big honour for him, adding that he now only needs to live up to the expectations.

Speaking about his journey, the batsman shared that at one point he had left cricket due to disappointment after not getting enough chances with the Abbottabad region. 

Also read: Lahore Qalandars aim to make cricket Pakistan's 'super power'

“I joined Lahore Qalandars after performing well in grade 2 and stood out when I got an opportunity,” said Akhtar. He stated that he believes that when trust is shown towards a player then instead of giving his 20% the player starts giving his 120%.

Akhtar shared that the Qalandars focused on his fitness and nutrition which was now helping him.