Wednesday Jan 19, 2022
LAHORE: Pakistan has a long cricketing history and has produced numerous world-class wicketkeepers over the years. Their athleticism and exceptional glove work have made a lasting impression on the game and earned them recognition worldwide, according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
Once again, two of Pakistan's best contemporary wicketkeeper-batters will lead their teams in the Pakistan Super League, as the Sultans of Multan will march behind Mohammad Rizwan and Gladiators of Quetta will march behind Sarfaraz Ahmed.
According to PCB, Rizwan had an exceptional 2021. He rewrote the game's history by becoming the first batter to score over 1,000 T20I runs in a calendar year, smashing 1,326 runs at an incredible average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 134.89.
He smashed 119 fours and 42 maximums – the most by any international batter that year – while also scoring his maiden century and 12 half-centuries. He was named the PCB's Most Valuable Cricketer and T20I Cricketer of the Year for 2021 as a result of his remarkable run.
He joined the Sultans' camp in the 2021 edition and immediately made a name for himself by leading them to their first championship, said PCB.
Sarfaraz, meanwhile, has been at the forefront of Pakistan's T20 revolution, guiding the team to series victories and the top spot in the ICC T20I Team Rankings. Due to his outstanding record at the helm for both Pakistan and the Quetta Gladiators, he remains the league's only player to have led his franchise since the league's founding. He has the seventh-most runs in the tournament (1,189 at 31.28 with a strike rate of 128.26).
Multan Sultans made their PSL debut in 2018. After struggling to establish themselves in their first two seasons, Sultans left a mark as a force in 2020 – the first time an entire edition of the tournament was held in Pakistan – when they finished the group stage as the best side with six wins, the most of any team, from eight completed matches, said PCB.
Last season, with Rizwan in charge, Sultans made history by winning their first PSL title with a thrilling final victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Abu Dhabi.
Quetta Gladiators have been one of the most reliable sides in the league. They are one of three teams in tournament history to have won more than 50% of their matches. They competed in the first two editions' finals before winning the title in 2019.
Their performances in the previous two editions fell short of the standards set by their and the league's fans, and the Sarfaraz-led side will be eager to reclaim their fortunes when the seventh HBL PSL gets underway in Karachi on 27 January, it added.
The Multan Sultans and the Quetta Gladiators have met seven times, with the latter winning four times. They will meet on January 31 and February 18.
“The PSL has proved to be an exceptional platform in unveiling the national talent and Quetta Gladiators have been blessed to have extraordinary youngsters. It has been a delightful experience to lead Quetta Gladiators for the last six years. There have been ups and downs, but the team has stuck together in tough times and every player has backed each other," says Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmed:.
“Multan Sultans have been on a roll in the last two seasons, but I am sure we will be able to stop them in PSL 7. They emerged as an attacking and modern-day cricketing unit under Rizwan, who continues to score runs and do wonders for whoever he plays. He is a great addition to Pakistan cricket and his stratospheric 2021 has made each and every Pakistani proud," he said.
Meanwhile, Multan Sultans’ captain Mohammad Rizwan made the following statement: “I joined the Sultans’ camp last year and it has been a great experience to work with such an exciting bunch of cricketers. It is certainly a huge responsibility to lead a side like Multan Sultans, but the effort that everyone, from the players to support staff, put in make my job easy. I am eager to do well in this season and stretch my last year’s form.
“Quetta Gladiators are a tough side and they can defeat any team. We have immense respect for them and are looking forward to play them.
Multan Sultans - Mohammad Rizwan (c), Abbas Afridi, Amir Azmat, Anwar Ali, Asif Afridi, Blessing Muzarabani, David Willey, Ihsanullah, Imran Khan Snr, Imran Tahir, Khushdil Shah, Odean Smith/Johnson Charles, Rilee Rossouw, Rizwan Hussain, Rovman Powell/Dominic Drakes, Rumman Raees, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Sohaib Maqsood and Tim David
Quetta Gladiators – Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Ahsan Ali, Ben Duckett, Dan Lawrence, Ghulam Mudassar, Iftikhar Ahmed, James Faulkner, James Vince/Will Smeed, Jason Roy/Shimron Hetmyer, Khurram Shehzad, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Muhammad Ashar Qureshi, Naseem Shah, Naveen ul Haq/Luke Wood, Noor Ahmad/Ali Imran, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir and Umar Akmal