PSL 5 has arrived finally! Cricket is about to take on an obsessive passion in Pakistan as fans, followers, brands, (big and small), talk shows and everyone who is anyone (or not) move to get on the PSL 5 bandwagon! And why not? As a nation, we have little to celebrate sometimes and Cricket is always a reason to celebrate! Best part of the deal is, there are no losers when Pakistan plays against Pakistan right?
Oops, there will be one loser though, and that is the Pakistani political talk show. Don’t believe us? Keep your eye on viewer ratings as audiences move towards catching the best of the best in PSL Updates, starting with the Opening Ceremony on this week of course!
Pakistan Super League is an achievement indeed – one that we should be superbly proud of. So let’s take a moment to appreciate how we got here!
An attack on a visiting cricket team more than ten years ago meant no international cricket for Pakistan.
The subsequent war against terrorism led by the armed forces of the country and political turmoil at that time meant no international cricket at all for Pakistan. The dearth of visiting teams has had its repercussions but Pakistan is a stubborn nation which is visible not just in their will to survive against all odds but also in their ability to punch above their weight when nobody expects them to, and really surprise you when you least expect them to.
Ask those flabbergasted cricket pundits who gave Pakistan no chance at all before Champions trophy 2017. On social media there is always someone getting mocked for bringing up 2017 but the fact of the matter is, that it was done by a team that had been deprived of international home cricket for the better part of the decade.
1. The first edition of Pakistan Super league was played a year before Champions trophy in 2016
and it gave the likes of Hassan Ali and Shadab Khan to showcase their talent to the entire nation and cricketing world and led to their selection in the Pakistan national squad which defeated India in Final of Champions trophy 2017.
PSL started with five teams. One representing the national Capital and one representing each provincial capital. Another team was added in the 2018 edition. Presently, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Galadiators, Multan Sultan and Islamabad United will be wrestling it out to claim the crown of PSL 5.
Let’s take a quick look at the PSL5 Team Lineup
2. The Biggest Cities Have Not Won Yet!
Karachi and Lahore are the biggest and the second biggest city of the country respectively and neither have been able to win the PSL or even create the impact that one expects of the traditional power houses of cricket in Pakistan. The rivalry between these two giants will be one to watch out for as they both would like to put on a better show this time around.
3. Islamabad have won the title twice
and are the second favourite team for a lot of fans as it represents the capital of the country.
4. Quetta have won the title once
5. Multan Sultans entered the fray in 2018
The Sultans are yet to make a real impact in the tournament. A standout feature (and a very exciting one), will be the newly constructed Cricket Stadium in Multan that promises state-of-the-art facilities. PSL Matches played there will truly uplift the spirit of a city starved to witness the nation’s favourite sport!
6. Peshawar Zalmi are probably the most consistent side of the tournament
The overall leading run scorer (Kamran Akmal) and overall leading wicket taker (Wahab Riaz) both play for Zalmi. Zalmi has probably been the most exciting team of PSL to date. Now, very soon, these six teams will start their fight for the title
Pakistanis have always welcomed every edition of PSL with great fervour, albeit in front of their television sets.
7. 2020 is the first time the entire PSL shall be played in Pakistan in front of the home crowd
where a cricket-starved nation will flock into the stadiums with zeal and passion that has not been quenched by the short visits of the Sri Lanka and Bangladesh cricket teams. This is going to be the real deal. A total of 34 matches will be played from 20th February to the 22nd March. The opening ceremony will be held in the city of lights and the financial capital of Pakistan at the National Stadium Karachi prior to the tournament opener.
In a developing country like Pakistan where politics is so colorful (for lack of a better word) that it keeps the entire population glued to their TV screens watching political shows in the evening, one thing is for sure : between 20th February to 22nd March politics will have to take a back seat and PSL 5 will rule the roost.
After all, would you rather watch Babar Azam bat or Dr. Shahid Masood deliver the latest conspiracy theory? No offence Dr. Saahab, we respect your views deeply – but Cricket – now that’s another ‘ball game’ entirely – and we think you’d agree too!
A welcome change indeed, let the fun begin!
Basit, a medical doctor by profession, and a sportsman by heart lives in Turku, Finland. He is interested in working out, reading Agatha Christie’s Poirot novels, learning Medicine (now in Finnish) and loves exploring diverse perspectives. He is a cricket lover at heart and plays Club Cricket in Summer. He is interested in writing in general and on cricket in particular.