LAHORE: The most challenging yet exciting factor about the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 3) will be that there will be six teams duking it out to lift the trophy instead of five was in the previous two years.
The introduction of a new team means the subsequent addition of more stars to the PSL family, and a significant part of the tournament taking place in Karachi adds a whole new dimension to the franchise league. So these, among a number of things, are what any cricket fan should be looking out for in the PSL 3:
The Karachi factor:
To call the addition of the Shoaib Malik led ‘Multan Sultans’ the most challenging aspect of the League is saying much. Not only is the final game of the tournament set to take place in Pakistan, but so are the semi finals, meaning an overall three matches in the country involving at least four of the six teams participating.
A number of foreign players have already agreed to play these games in Pakistan given the ocular proof of security measure the PSL2 final, Sri Lanka matcha and World XI series displayed in Lahore.
However, the games will be a challenge for the citizens of an already traffic choked Karachi as they brave it through a week or so of blockages around the National Stadium to allow the PSL3 to happen. How the people react and the police respond is yet to be seen, but the hope is that it will go smoother than it did in Lahore, although the reality will probably be much different.
Still, as the overused statement for Lahore goes, this will be a chance for Karachiites to prove their metal.
Enter the Multan Sultans:
That the Multan Sultans are lead by Pakistan’s currently most experience cricketer, Shoaib Malik, is only one of the feathers in the new team’s cap. That their kit is probably the best and sleekest of the lot is also a merely aesthetic factor in things. But the truly intimidating factor is their foreign players combo which includes the likes of Kieron Pollard, Kumar Sangakkara, and Imran Tahir. This three-pack makes a cricket team all on its own. Mentorship by the great Wasim Akram makes them all the more threatening. With much to prove and an entire tournament’s weight to carry, their success or failure being the measure for whether adding a new team at this juncture is a good idea, the Sultans have much to prove. And with a passionate Captain like Shoaib Malik and a veteran team, many of whom have been broken away from his previous Karachi Kings, you can just tell that they’ll be up to the task.
Fresh overseas talent:
The PSL’s previous addition had a pretty good roster of overseas players, many of whom came to play the final at Gadaffi this year as well. With a sixth team in the fray, last night’s draft was made all the more exciting. Players including Australia’s fast bowler Mitchell Johnson,JP Duminy &T20 batsmen, Chris Lynn, have signed up for 3rd edition of the PSL.
Moreover, players including Luke Ronchi and Imran Tahir have also taken up the PSL colours. Not only are these names entrenched in modern cricketing history, they are also in top form. Ronchi recently score one of the fastest T20 50 in the BPL and Mitchell Johnson took the first double hat trick in a first class game only yesterday, the first player to do this in four decades.
With the players in such top form, it can only be expected that the tournament is going to be as explosive as their recent forms.