Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, has vowed not to opt for players who decide against traveling to Pakistan for fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League.
“Peshawar Zalmi managed to bring all its players to Pakistan in the last two seasons and this will be the case for the next edition as well. Our focus is on hosting more international fixtures in Pakistan. We will not be opting for players in our squad who are not willing to come to the country,” Javed stated.
The 33-year old distanced himself from any selection matters within the franchise. “A lot of people have been asking me over social media about which players Peshawar Zalmi would be choosing in the upcoming draft. But little do they know, I have no involvement in the selection procedure whatsoever. I have left it to Mohammad Akram, Younis Khan and Zaheer Abbas to decide our picks,” he added.
Javed announced the inclusion of another big name in the Peshawar Zalmi dugout. “We will have another decorated player as part of our management soon. I am sure our fans would be very thrilled once it is announced.”
Chairman Peshawar Zalmi also revealed his long-time plans of acquiring club in the English Premier League, but had to shelve his plans once the Pakistan Super League came into existence.
“I had thought of getting my hands on a club in England or from European football, but Allah had other plans. The PSL is growing by leaps and bounds, which is very encouraging.
“It is solely because of the Pakistan Super League that we managed to pull off initiatives like Peshawar Zalmi Foundation and Global Zalmi. My happiness knew no bounds when two players from Toronto Zalmi made it to the Canadian national team and into Canada’s T20 league. It is like providing a platform to them to perform and thrive.”
Peshawar Zalmi Foundation has been working towards promoting cricket and search talent at the school level and beyond. “We involved around 150,000 students in the Zalmi School League and our next venture is the Inter-College tournament. Along with that, we successfully staged ‘The Zalmi Madrassa League’ as well. Around 2-3 million kids in the country study in different madaris and are ignored. Their knowledge and talent is beyond imagination. This step is not confined to one province only. We will take it to Kashmir, Gilgit, Balochistan, Central Punjab, South Punjab and Sindh.
“We also provided the youth with pitches across the province. Our project ‘Haier 100 Pitches’ made sure basic ground facilities are available to young and aspiring cricketers who do not have a platform to showcase their talent. Over 10000 cricketers were able to groom their skills. We reached out to areas in Peshawar, FATA, Mardan, Swabi, Bannu, North Waziristan and several others with this initiative.”
Peshawar Zalmi will also be retaining their brand ambassadors for the next PSL edition. “We will have Mahira Khan and Hamza Abbasi with us once again. We are also trying to get Fawad Khan on board. He and Mahira make a fantastic duo on screen.”
Furthermore, Javed Afridi confirmed his plans of developing an international cricket stadium in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, along with an academy with proper cricketing facilities.
“We are in the process of devising a plan for an international stadium in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The stadium will have state-of-the-art academy, with better facilities than the National Cricket Academy in Lahore. We are planning to inaugurate it after the next edition of the PSL. The stadium will be constructed somewhere close to Islamabad, paving way for international fixtures to be hosted in the country.”
Peshawar Zalmi will be going into the Pakistan Super League, hoping to recapture the title they won in 2017. The next edition commences on February 14 in the UAE, with 8 matches to be hosted in Pakistan, including the final in Karachi on March 17.