"I can only imagine what the enthusiasm will be like"
There is a lot of excitement for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 franchise cricket competition, with the entire tournament taking place in the country for the first time.
The fifth edition of the PSL will take place from February 20 to March 22, 2020. The 30-day long tournament will see four major cities host the matches.
The first round of players draft took place on November 3, 2019, followed by another on December 6, 2020. The final player squads indicate that many top overseas players are willing to play the tournament in Pakistan.
Players from Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies will be featuring in the tournament. Over thirty-five players will be in action for PSL 5.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, Ehsan Mani, notes:
“This shows the confidence that players throughout the world have in playing in Pakistan.”
With so much planned for the tournament, we preview what fans can expect from the Pakistan Super League 2020.
PSL Debuts for Player and Mentor
England cricketer Moeen Ali and former South African legend Hashim Amla will make their PSL debuts in different capacities.
The England and Worcestershire all-rounder Moeen Ali was picked by Multan Sultans under the platinum category in the players draft on December 6, 2020.
Moeen joins fellow English players Ravi Bopara and James Vince in the Sultans squad.
Moeen can provide useful experience to the Multan side and also utilise the PSL platform to regain his place in England’s limited-overs squads.
Earlier in November 2019, Moeen spoke to PakPassion about being part of the PSL:
“Playing in the PSL has always been an aim of mine and I am really looking forward to hopefully being picked by a franchise.
“On the circuit, players talk about the quality cricket that they have experienced playing in the PSL and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”
“I haven’t visited Pakistan for a while now, even though my mother’s side of the family is from there and so am looking forward to visiting the country.
“Performing in front of passionate crowds in Pakistan is also something I would love to experience as well and I got a taste of that when we played against them in Dubai a few years ago and I can only imagine what the enthusiasm will be like when the games are played in Pakistani cities.”
Peshawar Zalmi will have the services of Hashim Amla as Batting Mentor. Similar to Moeen, Amla who quit playing international cricket for The Proteas in 2019, will also be part of the PSL for the first time.
Amla did not feature as a player in the previous four editions of the PSL. He will join Darren Sammy (WI) who will also be working in a mentoring capacity.
Javed Afridi, owner of Zalmi announced the news of appointing Amla on Twitter:
“A vy wholehearted #PakhairRaghlay to the Legendary Player @amlahash, in the #YellowStorm Brigade as a Batting Mentor.
“His Gracious Presence in the PSL5 festivity will not only adorn the Zalmi Dugout bt will also inspire & craft the crick skills of the emerging players in the squad”
Amla who is famous for being very calm can have a very soothing effect on the Peshawar players.
All Games in Pakistan
PSL 5 is unique as it will be the first edition to host the entire tournament in Pakistan. Thirty-four matches will take place across the four major cities of Pakistan.
PCB chief Ehsan Mani had confirmed this development early in January 2020:
“After bringing Test cricket back to Pakistan, hosting of the entire Pakistan Super League is our other major achievement.”
“I never had any doubts it was Pakistan’s league and should be played in front of home crowds.
“We had made this commitment to the people of Pakistan at the end of last year’s event and I am pleased today we have announced the event schedule with four centres to share the 34 event matches between them.”
Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan are the host venues for PSL 5.
The Lahore Gaddafi Stadium will be hosting fourteen games, including two eliminators and the final on March 22, 2020. The National Stadium in Karachi has an allocation of eight matches, including the qualifier.
Rawalpindi Stadium will host six matches, with three games taking place at the Multan Cricket Stadium. The encounters include a mix of day and floodlight games.
The great thing is that every game will receive local support. Fans will be cheering teams that represent their city or area. With the exception of Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, all the other teams will play matches in their home ground.
Karachi Kings have five home games in the initial stages. Lahore Qalandars play eight home games during the double round-robin format.
Islamabad United will feature in five games in front of a home crowd. Multan Sultans have three home games in the historic city.
Some of the teams have launched new kits for PSL 5. Fans will get to see their favourite players in the redesign kits.
Fans inside and outside the stadium will also be wearing kits of their favourite teams.
Two times PSL champion, Islamabad United will be wearing a traditional red kit for all home games. Their away kit features more yellow on the front. Both kits include the team logo on the side of the t-shirt.
Speaking about the kits, owner Ali Naqvi told the media:
“We have always prioritized quality over appearance, and the changes we have made for our kits over the past years have been reflective of that.”
“While the concept of home and away kit is becoming more of a norm in cricket, we are proud to be the first to introduce that concept in Pakistan.
“Islamabad United has always taken pride in being innovative in everything on and off the field, and this is just a continuation of that.
“Our fans in Rawalpindi and Islamabad will see us in our familiar red. The Pindi Cricket Stadium is our home ground, where we have waited for five years to play, and we want to truly make it our home.”
Islamabad coach Misbah Ul-Haq, skipper Shadab Khan and South African Dale Steyn will be donning the new kits.
Peshawar Zalmi has also unveiled two kits. One is predominately black and yellow. The other has black and gold colour tones in the jersey. Both kits of the Yellow Storm team features the logo and sponsors.
A fan commenting on PakPassion had a mix reaction to the Zalmi kits:
“The yellow Zalmi kit would look a lot better with black pants. The black and gold jersey is fantastic though.”
Shoaib Malik shared a picture of him wearing the kit, alongside Pakistani actress Mehwish Hayat.
Tower Sports and SportzWorkz
On January 30, 2020, the PCB revealed a consortium of Tower Sports and SporstWorkz as their production partner for PSL 5.
They will be responsible for producing Live coverage of the event. Tower Sports is a Pakistani based company, whilst Sportzworkz is registered in Singapore.
Collaborating together, the two present a professional management team. They have tremendous experience and excellence in the production of cricket.
The two companies will also train and develop camerapersons and technical crew from Pakistan, as part of the production agreement. This will enhance Pakistani broadcast production skills, hopefully building a pool of resources for the future.
Industry great Chris McDonald will lead the production team with the help of Stephen Norris. Mcdonald was formerly Senior-Vice President at ESPN-Star Sports.
Meanwhile, Norris has a rich sports media portfolio. This includes successfully launching Ten Sports and BT Sports across the world.
Shoaib Naveed, PSL Project Executive, mentioned:
“We are excited to have such experienced personnel on board for the live production of HBL Pakistan Super League.
“Since the very first HBL PSL season, we have endeavoured to provide world-class production for our fans and media partners and this year, with the wealth of experience that Tower Sports and SportzWorkz bring with their team, we aim to further enhance our production experience.”
Chris McDonald, Chairman SportzWorkz, stated:
“A part of our commitment to the PCB and to Pakistan itself is to train local TV production professions on delivering a state of the art, top-level, international live cricket production.
“We will be developing local capacity by conducting on venue and classroom-style training during the PSL for Pakistan professionals interested in having a career in sports production.
“Our goal, simply put, is to have a majority Pakistani crew in two to three years from now.”
But in the short-term, PSL fans can expect some exciting fresh features and graphics appearing on their televison sets. The production partners will certainly be trying to impress with innovation.
Watch the Official Anthem ‘Tayyar Hai’ here:
In tradition, with customary PSL editions of the past, an opening ceremony will take place. Fans can expect a host of celebrities performing in a glittering ceremony.
Quetta Gladiators will face Islamabad United in the first game of the Pakistan Super League 2020. PSL supporters will chant ‘Tayyar Hai’ the official anthem for edition 5.