Pietersen the only Quetta player refusing to travel to Pakistan

KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators owner Nadeem Omar on Thursday said that almost all the foreign players on his team’s roster had agreed to come to Pakistan in case the team made it to the play-offs of the Pakistan Super League 2018, with the sole exception being England’s Kevin Pietersen. The play-offs of the third edition of the PSL are scheduled to be held in Lahore, while the final will take place at National Stadium Karachi, which means the six franchises have the added responsibility of convincing their players to make the trip to Pakistan from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A day after Karachi Kings owner Salman Iqbal claimed he expects all of foreign cricketers in his side to come to Pakistan, his Gladiators counterpart also delivered similarly positive news to Pakistan’s cricket fans. “All the players, including Shane Watson have agreed to travel to Pakistan,” Omar said. “Pietersen is the only exception. He may not come but we are trying to convince him also.” In case the English veteran refuses to change his stance on the matter, Omar said his side already had a contingency plan in place. “We have Jason Roy as a replacement for Pietersen,” he said. Pietersen was similarly conflicted ahead of the PSL 2017 final when he took his time but eventually decided against making the trip. In his absence, the Gladiators had ended up losing a one-sided final to Peshawar Zalmi.

‘98pc foreign cricketers ready to visit Pakistan for PSL’: Karachi Kings owner Iqbal on Wednesday claimed that up to 98 percent of foreign cricketers were ready to come to Pakistan for the playoffs and finals of the 2018 Pakistan Super League. Foreign players, in the past, have shown great reluctance in visiting Pakistan owing to the country’s volatile security conditions. However, that reluctance waned significantly in 2017 when a bunch of international players visited Pakistan, first for the PSL final and then for the World XI vs Pakistan series. Later in the year, Sri Lanka also visited Pakistan, reiterating the Pakistan Cricket Board’s stance that the situation in Pakistan is now under control and conducive for cricket.

Kings owner Iqbal, during the launching ceremony of the team’s official kit, delivered more good news to Pakistani cricket fans, saying that all the foreigners on his team’s roster had agreed to travel to Pakistan if their team qualified. “Six of our seven players are ready to come and play in Pakistan from the beginning. Eoin Morgan, who has commitments to other leagues, is the sole exception. He will be coming late and will be leaving early.This is good news for all of us that players have agreed to come here and we hope everything stays well,” he added.

Captaincy role for Imad Wasim explained: Iqbal also commented on the selection of the franchise’s captain, Imad Wasim, explaining why the team chose a newcomer such as him to lead the side when far more experienced players options were available. “In the last two seasons, we changed captains several times so now the management has decided that there should be a young captain who can stay with us for a long and can prove to be helpful, not only for us but for the national team too,” he said.

Published in Daily Times, February 9th 2018.