PSL 8: Quetta to host Pakistani stars for exhibition match on February 5

Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam will be in action

January 16, 2023
Sarfaraz Ahmed and Babar Azam (L) and Quetta's Bugti Stadium (R) - ICC/Twitter/@quettagladiators

KARACHI: Pakistan Super League (PSL), the country's biggest cricket festival, is set to enter its eighth edition, tentatively scheduled from February 13 to March 19 in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan. 

In the build-up to the extravaganza, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)'s new management committee led by Najam Sethi is committed to engaging fans from across the country. 

Soon after taking charge as chairman of the management committee, Sethi announced to include Quetta (subject to security clearance) as the fifth venue to host PSL's eighth edition. 

Meanwhile, to engage Quetta fans, PCB has decided to host an exhibition match between home side Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi on February 5 which is observed as 'Kashmir Day' countrywide. 

According to the sources, PCB, in consultation with production and marketing teams, did recce of Quetta's only cricket stadium last weekend. 

PCB is working to chalk a budget to host only exhibition match in the city. In collaboration with security officials PCB is committed to giving high-quality cricket action to fans. 

Sources told that development work at Bugti Stadium is in full swing. The beautiful ground, which hosted only ODI back in 1996, will be hosting international standard cricket after a long hiatus. 

On the other hand, a Gladiators' representative confirmed to this correspondent that their full-strength Pakistani players will be available for the scheduled exhibition match against Zalmi. 

"We are too excited for playing a match at our home for the very first time," the representative said. "It is a good step taken by PCB, Quetta fans are desperately waiting for this match, and so do we. We are hopeful that all our Pakistani players will participate in this contest. There are a lot of challenges we have to face while hosting this match. Fingers crossed, I hope everything goes well," he added. 

Former Test captain Sarfaraz Ahmed and current national skipper Babar Azam are expected to lead their respective teams in the exhibition match. 

Squads based on Pakistani players

Quetta Gladiators: Mohammad Nawaz, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Umar Akmal, Naseem Shah, Ahsan Ali, Umaid Asif, Muhammad Zahid, Abdul Bangalzai, Aimal Khan, Omair Bin Yousuf

Peshawar Zalmi: Babar Azam (c), Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Haris, Aamir Jamal, Salman Irshad, Danish Aziz, Arshad Iqbal, Saim Ayub, Usman Qadir, Sufyan Muqeem, Haseeb Ullah