Lahore, February 10, 2019 (PPI-OT): The popularity of the HBL Pakistan Super League’s is growing fast among overseas players. In the fourth edition of the tournament, starting from February 14 in Dubai, at least, 40 foreign players will be traveling to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Pakistan to entertain the cricket loving crowd.
Among new faces, the South Africa legend AB de Villiers, who holds the record for the fastest ODI century and half-century, is the biggest draw this season along with New Zealand’s Colin Munro, who has the highest strike-rate in T20 Internationals.
Sandeep Lamichhane, a rising leg-spinner from Nepal, will also be making his maiden appearance in the HBL PSL this season whereas the ICC World T20 2016 hero Carlos Brathwaite is also set to make his tournament debut.
As has been the case in the short history of HBL PSL, the largest contingent of overseas talent is coming from England with 12 players, followed by West Indies (eight), Australia (six), South Africa (five), New Zealand (four), Zimbabwe (two) and, Nepal and Wales (one each).
In this article, we find how some of the overseas stars are feeling ahead of the fourth HBL PSL.
Kieron Pollard (Peshawar Zalmi)
Kieron Pollard, the most capped T20 player of all-time, has moved to Peshawar Zalmi for the fourth HBL PSL. He played the last two seasons for Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans, respectively, and has an overall experience of 445 T20 matches.
The Trinidad all-rounder will be coming in the tournament at the back of a fine form. As recently as August last year, he scored the first century of his T20 career and in the past 12 months has amassed 857 runs at a strike-rate close to 140.00.
“The experience of playing the HBL PSL has been great so far and I love being a part of this tournament,” said Pollard.
“The HBL PSL 2019 promises to be even more exciting. I can’t wait to share the field with guys like Daren Sammy, Misbah-ul-Haq, Wahab Riaz, Chris Jordan and Hasan Ali.
“To add to this, each year HBL PSL offers an electrifying atmosphere and buzz from the grand opening ceremony till the last match. The fans are in for an extremely exciting journey this year and I can’t wait to live this experience with them,” he concluded.
Colin Munro (Karachi Kings)
Colin Munro, the swashbuckling opening batsman from New Zealand, was part of the Karachi Kings squad last year as well, but could not play due to national commitments. He will make his debut in Pakistan’s premier T20 tournament this season.
Munro is known for his hard-hitting at the start of the innings. He is one of the only two batsmen in the world – the other being Rohit Sharma – to score three centuries in T20Is and has the highest strike-rate (161.13) for any batsman with at least 1,000 runs in the format.
Looking ahead to his PSH debut, Munro said: “I have heard great things about the experience of playing in front of packed houses in Pakistan and I think that is something I am really looking forward to at this year’s HBL PSL.
“To be able to experience the love that these people have to offer and to see first-hand what this beautiful game of cricket means to the people of Pakistan, I feel that is going to be a very gratifying experience for me as a cricketer.”
Shane Watson (Quetta Gladiators)
Shane Watson, the Australia, all-rounder Shane Watson is set to feature in the HBL PSL for the fourth time. He played the first two tournaments for Islamabad United and the last one for Quetta Gladiators. He was one of the players the Gladiators retained before the players draft.
Watson’s importance in HBL PSL can be established from the fact that no overseas batsman has scored more runs (684) or hit more sixes (43) than him in the tournament.
Watson said: “HBL Pakistan Super League has quickly developed as one of the leading T20 tournaments in the world and I have thoroughly enjoyed the extremely competitive cricket that the tournament has to offer. Pakistan has incredible young cricketing talent and these youngsters have an opportunity to learn from some of the best cricketers in the world during HBL PSL.
“I am glad I was able to put in some decent performances for Quetta Gladiators last year. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go all the way last season but we have a great squad this year with the likes of Sarfaraz Ahmed, DJ Bravo, Umar Akmal, Sunil Narine, Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Nawaz. I can’t wait to join the guys this season and see what we can achieve together as a team.”
Ian Bell (Islamabad United)
England batsman Ian Bell has been picked by Islamabad United to play HBL PSL for the first time after a stunning season with Birmingham Bears in England’s domestic T20 competition. Bell, with 580 runs at 48.33, was the third highest score in the T20 tournament at home.
He was United’s first pick in the players draft for HBL PSL 2019.
Bell had a memorable tour of Pakistan in 2005 when he scored 315 at an average of 52.16 in a three-Test series and will be looking to relive those moments as Karachi and Lahore are set to host eight matches this season.
“Islamabad United are a champion side and it shows in the fact that we have won twice in the first three seasons of the HBL PSL. I have heard so many great things about the HBL PSL and Islamabad United,” said Bell.
“Pakistan cricket is lucky to have an exciting crop of youngsters including the likes of Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf and Rumman Raees and I look forward to sharing the dressing room with these lovely lads. I toured Pakistan back in 2005 when I was at a similar stage in my career.
“Hopefully, I will be able to pass some of what I have learned in these 14 years and, along the way, experience the passion of Pakistani fans once again.”
Daniel Christian (Multan Sultans)
Dan Christian, the Australia all-rounder, will be in action for the first time in HBL PSL after he was picked as a supplementary player by Multan Sultans. Christian scored 185 runs and took 13 wickets for Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League in Australia.
He has also played 19 ODIs and 16 T20Is for Australia and is fondly remembered for taking a stunning catch during a T20I series against Pakistan in the UAE in 2012.
“I am sure this experience will come in handy as we try to hit the ground running at this year’s HBL PSL. All of these guys are proven match-winners and I hope to have my hands on the trophy with them this March,” said Christian.
“We are a new team but we have some quality experience in our dressing room with the likes of Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Andre Russell and Mohammad Irfan.”
Corey Anderson (Lahore Qalandars)
Corey Anderson, the New Zealand all-rounder, is set to make his HBL PSL debut this season with Lahore Qalandars, who share special love with the batsmen who can score at brisk pace.
Anderson’s strike-rate in T20s is above 140 and he also holds the record for the second fastest ODI hundred, which he scored off just 36 balls against the Windies in 2014.
The Qalandars will be banking on his experience and power-hitting for better results in this year’s HBL PSL.
“I am very excited that I will make my HBL PSL debut with Lahore Qalandars. Our loyal fans have waited three seasons and supported the team through some low times,” said Anderson.
“We have changed a few things and have a great squad with guys like Mohammad Hafeez, AB de Villiers, Fakhar Zaman, Carlos Brathwaite, Rahat Ali and Sandeep Lamichhane to name a few. I am hoping this can be our year and we can reward the Qalandars fans by lifting the trophy this year.”
27 January: HBL PSL – A trip the memory lane
28 January: HBL PSL – Through the eyes of the pundits
29 January: HBL PSL – a statistical review
30 January – Graeme Smith, Matthew Hayden, Ramiz Raja to call HBL PSL 2019
31 January: HBL PSL – The movers and shakers
1 February – Islamabad United – The most successful HBL PSL side
2 February: Lahore Qalandars – The heart of HBL PSL
3 February: Multan Sultans – HBL PSL popularity set to increase manifold
4 February: Karachi Kings- The side on a rise in HBL PSL
5 February: Quetta Gladiators – From underdogs to a force to be reckoned with in HBL PSL
6 February: Peshawar Zalmi – An epitome of consistency at HBL PSL
7 February: Players to graduate from HBL PSL to become international stars
8 February: Foreign stars reflect on their HBL PSL experience
9 February: Cricketers to watch out for at HBL PSL 2019
For more information, contact:
Pakistan Super League (PSL)
Pakistan Super League Secretariat, Gaddafi Stadium,
Ferozepur Road, Lahore, Pakistan