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PSL stage set to boost up Pakistan’s image-building

PSL stage set to boost up Pakistan’s image-building

Interview with Muhammad Talha, an analyst

PAGE: Kindly tell us something about yourself and your organization?

Muhammad Talha: I am working with Arif Habib Group for last 12 years. Before joining the Arif Habib Group, I served in Al-Abbas Group, Ghulam Farooq Group and EY Ford Rhodes and gained experience in diversified sectors serving clients spanning the Financial, Manufacturing, Trading and Service industries. I have a working experience of more than 20 years in various diversified capacities including property operations.

PAGE: What are your views on the current PSL?

Muhammad Talha: First of all, it is a piece of overwhelming news that PSL is happening. Due to the global pandemic, the whole world is in distress and everyone’s morale is low therefore conducting a massive event will uplift people’s morale. Unlike Indian IPL, the whole PSL is taking place in Pakistan. It would surely enhance the healthy image of Pakistan. PSL will also unite Pakistanis living abroad and give them something to cheer on as most of them are living in countries that are observing strict lockdown conditions. The PCB has done a great job in the resumption of international cricket in the country and the success is going to send a profound message to the world that Pakistan is safe even in pandemic as compared to other countries. It also reflected the progress we have made in symbolizing the peace gesture over the world especially after the Aman-2021 by Pakistan Navy held on February 14, 2021 in which 45 countries of the world participated.

PAGE: How would you comment on marketing of PSL?

Muhammad Talha: We need to understand the conditions and restrictions COVID has brought upon us so digital marketing is the best solution to this. The sponsors need to run their ads on social media platforms and should do polls and quizzes to learn what the people of Pakistan want. Lucky draws should be conducted where a free ticket could be distributed. Considering that only a quarter of the crowd compared to previous years will be allowed so more people will apply for this scheme and in turn, would publicize the brand PSL. Further, for knock out matches 20 percent crowd restriction may be reconsidered by NCOC and it may enhance upto 35 percent subject to the condition of pandemic specially after vaccination. We have turned this PSL into the biggest brand in Pakistan and one of the most watched leagues around the world beside Big Bash and IPL.

PAGE: Your views on different players?

Muhammad Talha: Big names of international cricketing arena are coming to Pakistan which shows the progress we have made in controlling the spread of this disease. The other major concern during the past two decades was terrorism when international teams were reluctant to come to Pakistan. This is obviously the biggest victory especially for Pakistani nation along with security forces who did not panicked during these dark days. I salute to all the martyrs especially from security forces who had laid down their lives for our beloved homeland.

Foreign players like Chris Gayle, Alex Hales, Dale Steyn, Faf du Plessis, Chris Lynn, Rashid Khan, Chadwick Walton, Mohammad Nabi, David Miller, Tom Banton and many other world star players are eager to play during this edition of PSL VI. I want to see the storm of Chris Gayle sweeping the NSK and GSL during this edition of PSL as he is the only player to score a triplet of centuries – a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in T20Is. Chris Gayle who is well regarded in cricketing field as a “Universe Boss” is the first ever batsman to hit 1000 sixes in T20 cricket. Quetta Gladiators who is the most successful team of the PSL shall glitter after the addition of Chris Gayle, Dale Steyn and Tom Banton (a young star in making).

Alex Hales who was part of the Karachi Kings last year will now share his dressing room with Islamabad United. Inclusion of Hassan Ali into the Islamabad United teams makes IU a very compatible one. Sohail Akhtar’s Lahore Qalandar performed immaculately during the last season and I think inclusion of Rashid Khan makes this team a perfect combination as most of the matches will be played in GSL. This year Multan Sultans have changed their captain and named Muhammad Rizwan to lead his team. After his heroic performance during New Zealand tour and South African team visit to Pakistan, He has emerged as one of the prime batsman. Shahid Afridi, Chris Lynn, Rilee Rossouw and Carlos Brathwaite are the top performers who would be shining during this season. People are also anxious about Peshawar Zalmi who are looking forward to watch David Miller, Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Sherfane Rutherford and Mujeeb-ur-Rehman in action.

Babar Azam who is one of the top performers in all 3 formats of the game is set to showcase his talent during this edition of Pakistan Super League for Karachi Kings. After the retirement of Mohammad Amir from international cricket, fans are super excited to watch Mohammad Amir on playing field. Colin Ingram, Mohammad Nabi, Chadwick Walton and Sharjeel Khan are the players whom Karachi Kings would want to star during this edition. Another good addition for Karachi Kings is the inclusion of a local boy Danish Aziz who had performed tremendously during the Pakistan Cup T20 edition.

PAGE: Your take on the image building of Pakistan through PSL:

Muhammad Talha: Conducting an event like PSL is not an easy task and especially during these hard times. This inevitably gives the credit to the health officials who have controlled the emerging cases and prevented them from spreading. This will show the world that if Pakistan can control this outbreak so why not other countries could. I hope that with the success of this event, international teams belonging to other sports will also travel to Pakistan and this will spark a sporting culture which we have been missing for last many years. Moreover, this will also portray that social activities are once again resuming and will in turn encourage foreigners to choose Pakistan as their tourist destination.

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