LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Wednesday appointed cricket greats Javed Miandad, Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy and Shoaib Malik as mentors of the first edition of the Pakistan Junior League (PJL). PJL is scheduled to be held in October this year in Lahore. Javed Miandad, a veteran of six ICC ODI World Cups from 1975-1996 will be the league mentor, while Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib are the team mentors. The four household names will also serve as event ambassadors and use their knowledge, influence and attraction to promote and publicise the first of its kind event. PCB will announce three more mentors in due course of time. The four stalwarts share six major world titles, 1,559 international matches, 43,057 runs and 992 wickets between them. Sammy and Shahid were team-mates in the Peshawar Zalmi team in 2017 when the team in yellow won the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the Gaddafi Stadium. Javed Miandad will be involved as an overall mentor, and assist the mentors of the six sides and the players during the tournament. Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib will be part of the team dug-outs in the build up to and during the PJL, to be played at the back end of Pakistan versus England T20I series that is scheduled to conclude on 2 October. PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract Javed Miandad, Daren Sammy, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as mentors for the PJL. Their involvement in the PJL will help us achieve one of our event objectives that revolves around helping future generation of cricketers to achieve the champions and match-winning approach and mindset. “The involvement of the four icons also confirms that we are on track for delivering a successful event that will go on to help Pakistan cricket in more than one way. Besides creating a winning environment and developing skills and temperament of the teens, we are committed to developing new properties and Pakistan Junior League is an event in that direction”, he added. Javed Miandad said: “I have always enjoyed being part of the coaching set-up and this opportunity provides me with a chance to return to the field, work with players with bigger objectives and help them achieve excellence. PJL is an exciting and unique product, and I not only look forward to making a meaningful contribution but also project this league as a game-changer.” Daren Sammy said: “I am pleased to have been awarded with the opportunity to be involved in the inaugural Pakistan Junior League. I am fully behind the concept and believe it will assist in identifying and fast-tracking outstanding cricketers. “I have been part of Pakistan cricket system since 2016 and am a witness to some great local talent that has blown me away. I now look forward to working more closely with the teenagers, pass on my knowledge to them and help them fulfill their dreams of becoming international cricketers.” Shahid Afridi said: “I am a big advocate of investing in the future. If T20 cricket is a vehicle to promote and develop cricket, and identify young talent, then we need to create opportunities and come up with novel ideas to unearth hidden talent, and ensure their skills and performances are duly noticed and subsequently rewarded. Working as a mentor of a side comprising teenagers will be a new experience for me. I am thoroughly excited and looking forward to playing my part in helping these energetic and skillful cricketers achieve the zenith of glory. I believe that flashing actually only happens at under 13 to 19, after that it’s amiably man management”. “I have no doubts with the abundance of talent we have, this tournament will be able to identify, at least, half a dozen cricketers who can be nurtured and developed into star cricketers, who can then go on to shoulder the expectations and hopes of millions of cricket fans and followers”, he added. Shoaib Malik said: “I feel privileged and honoured to have been awarded with the opportunity to work as a mentor with one of the PJL sides. As someone who is actually a product of age-group cricket when I first played in the 1998 U19 World Cup, I can vouch for the importance and significance of this tournament”. “I think the Pakistan Junior League fits very nicely in the PCB domestic cricket calendar as have 50-over and three-day cricket for the teenage cricketers. T20 cricket, which is nowadays the most popular and attractive format, will not only complete the calendar but will potentially produce three-dimensional players who can demonstrate their potential and talent to accept and adopt to the shortest format”, he added. “Franchise cricket always tests players to the limits and, in this background, it is even better that the skills of the players will be fully challenged, fast-tracking the very best in their careers. I believe PJL will prove to the cornerstone of our endeavours to once again become a force to be reckoned with across all formats”, Shoaib said. The PJL will be played on single-league basis with the top-four sides progressing to the play-offs. The top-two sides will play in the qualifier with the winner qualifying for the final. The losing side will get a second chance to progress to the final when it will play against the winner of Eliminator 1 between the number-three and four ranked sides.