Friday Feb 14, 2020
With the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 less than a week away, the excitement around the league has gripped everyone, including non-cricketing athletes who represent the country in various other sports.
Hockey Olympian Salman Akbar, champion wrestler Inam Butt, Karatekas Saadi Abbas and Kulsoom Hazara, boxer Amir Khan, and others are eagerly waiting for the league to kick off.
Inam, who has won several gold medals for Pakistan in wrestling, termed PSL 5 a "game-changer" for sports in Pakistan.
"Having all PSL games in Pakistan is a great moment for us. Cricket is widely followed here and all the sportsmen are equally excited about PSL 2020 as any other citizen is. PSL will be a game-changer for Pakistan and it will open doors for more sporting events in the country," he told Geo News.
Akbar, a member of the 2010 Asian Games gold medal-winning team, said that having PSL matches in Pakistan is a great opportunity for the country to show the world that "we are a sports loving nation."
"It's good to know that all the PSL matches are being played in Pakistan. This is very good news for us and a great opportunity to tell the world how sports loving as a nation we are. I wish good luck to the PCB and all the participating teams, and welcome all the foreign cricketers who have agreed to visit Pakistan for PSL," Akbar, who now trains goalkeepers in Japan, added.
"There's no single favourite team; the entire PSL is my favorite and being a sports person, I would say that may the best team win," he replied when asked to pick a potential winner.
British pugilist Amir said that while he sees Karachi Kings as his favourite team, he wished good luck to each participating team in the Pakistan Super League.
"I am quite excited to see who's gonna win. Personally, I like Karachi Kings, and I like the way they play cricket. The whole PSL is brilliant. It is amazing to bring cricket and international players to Pakistan for this league. I wish all the teams very best," he said.
Karateka Abbas, a gold medalist at the South Asian Games, said that "no matter who takes the trophy, the ultimate winner in PSL will be Pakistan."
"It's a moment of pride for us that all PSL matches are being played in Pakistan this time," he said. "I'm a Karachiiite and that's why I support Karachi Kings in the league. But, whoever wins, it will be Pakistan's victory."
His fellow karateka Kulsoom also said that she was happy to see all the matches being staged in Pakistan.
"I want to say thanks to all the foreign players who are coming to Pakistan," she said.
"I do not have a single favourite team. All the teams are my teams because it will be Pakistan's win," she added.
Footballer Kaleemullah said that he was very excited about PSL as it brings people of Pakistan together.
"Hope we get to see good competitive sports. I am supporting Quetta Gladiators in the league," he told Geo.
Country's top badminton player Mahoor Shehzad said that she was eagerly waiting for PSL and that she would visit the National Stadium to see all the matches that are scheduled to be played in Karachi.
The fifth edition of Pakistan Super League is set to commence on February 20, with Islamabad United taking on defending champion Quetta Gladiators in the opening game at the National Stadium.