LAHORE: Lahore Qalandars are all set to dazzle in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017 when its rolls into action next month in the United Arab Emirates. Qalandars represents Lahore in the league. The PSL is an annual city-based T20 franchise tournament organised by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The league brings on board all-rounder players from Pakistan and from 11 countries around the world, who will play for five regional teams - Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. The PSL 2017 will begin on February 9 with the final taking place in Lahore on March 7. In 27 days, the world will see a unique flavour of Pakistani entertainment in a truly global setting. Qalandars, owned by Qatar Lubricants Company Limited, are currently captained by Brendon McCullum and coached by Paddy Upton, a former South African cricketer. Qalandars were the second most expensive franchise and were one of the few teams sold to an international company.
In preparation for the second season, the Lahore Qalandars have made some major changes to their team. The lineup now proudly includes a total of 20 players (7 foreign and 13 local players). Lahore Qalandars 16-member squad have services of Brendon McCullum (c),Sunil Narine, Umar Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Dwayne Bravo, Yasir Shah, Anton Devcich, Mohammad Rizwan, Cameron Delport, Azhar Ali, Aamer Yamin, Zafar Gohar, Fakhar Zaman, Bilawal Bhatti, Ghulam Mudassir, Usman Qadir. Lahore Qalandars supplementary players are Grant Elliot, Shaun Tait, Saif Badar and Mohammad Irfan (Jr).
Expected to be one of the highest performing leagues in terms of global visibility, the Pakistan Super League is envisioned to become a leading platform for local and international players to showcase their talent, and provide lucrative opportunities for brands and businesses to connect with the global market. Qalandar is an honorific title given to a saint who is at a very high level of spirituality. They are different from other saints and have very strong feelings of love for God's creation. Qalandars, among the saints, are those persons who may enjoy freedom from the ties and bounds of time and space. Qalandars spread the message of love and humanity and have strong connection with Lahore, Punjab. Qalandar is an old word but has strong longevity. Also, it has a very strong connection to music and it keeps getting new leases of life due to the concept's usage in the most popular songs/qawwalis, etc. from time to time. Fawad Rana is the Chairman of Lahore Qalandars, Atif Rana is the Chief Executive Officer and Sameen Rana is the Chief Operating Officer. Former Pakistan Test player Aqib Javed is the Director Cricket Operations while former Pakistan Test player Muddassar Nazar is part of the franchise as Advisor and Icon. Speaking about the recent changes to both the team and the management, Mr. Fawad Rana- Owner Lahore Qalandars said: "Our confidence and belief in Lahore Qalandars have never been higher, with the morale of the team in high spirits, we are ready to take on any challenge and the team are all set to give a groundbreaking performance in the field." Lahore Qalandars are the first franchise to take PSL global by its affiliation with Australian Big Bash League's Sydney Thunders. This agreement was endorsed for the betterment of cricket on mutually beneficial basis.
Tremendous contribution: Lahore Qalandars' have made tremendous contribution to Pakistan cricket. They started first ever career oriented talent hunt programme in the history of Pakistan which was exclusive programme to be run across Punjab targeting over 50 million population. They started international level exposure and collaborations with international teams. They undertook first ever cricketing initiative offering scholarships to the eligible players along with custom designed programme focused to enhance the T20 skills of youngsters. They also started live media coverage of trials and tournaments, talent hunt campaign across Punjab province, selected 128 players for Jazz Rising Star Tournament. Lahore Qalandars Rising Stars; a team comprising of the best 15 players out of 113,000 individuals, travelled to Australia to represent Lahore Qalandars in a triangular series against Sydney Thunders and Sydney Sixers.
As Lahore Qalandars are envisioned to promote cricket across all segments of the society; the National Army Tournament was sponsored by Lahore Qalandars. Since first edition of PSL 2016, many businesses have associated their brands with Lahore Qalandars and formed a strong long-term relationship with them.