Lahore, the capital city of Punjab, also one of the most popular cities of the world. Lahore is one of the cities that depicts the history, culture, heritage and character of the people of Pakistan. Commonly known as the “Zinda Dilan-e-Lahore; People with great hearts” and “Lahore, Lahore ae” meaning Lahore is not replaceable. The cricket taste and charm has been the same kind in Lahore. Lahore has been famous for developing quality bowlers and pacers. The squad for 2016 was considered as the hot favorites having Chris Gayle as the center of attention.
Unfortunately for Lahore fans, the team couldn’t perform up to their reputation and result was the bottom place of the table. They could manage to win only one match. The reason behind such a dismal performance was lack of aggressive captaincy from Azhar Ali, too much dependence on Chris Gayle and lack of hard-hitting batsmen in the squad. The team with the most expectations turned out to be the least performing. And lots of fans were disappointed. Yasir Shah couldn’t participate for Lahore as well which gave them a huge set back right before the tournament and then they failed to gather any tournament across the tournament.
The choice of captain was also heavily criticized as Azhar Ali had no experience of T20 Internationals. Also his technique makes him a great Test batsman but he remains a misfit in the T20 Squad. He was handed over the captaincy which resulted in lack of spark and spirit from the team. There is absolutely no doubt in the abilities of Azhar Ali has a batsman but T20 format requires sharpness, activeness in the field and aggressive intent in the batting.
The draft for PSL 2017 was held at UAE on 19th October 2016. All franchises participated in the draft and some big surprises were seen. One of them being the release of Chris Gayle from the squad. All the hype for Lahore Qalandars last year was because of Chris Gayle and he was replaced this year. Karachi Kings were quick to get him in their squad.
But the move was not immature, the replacement for Chris Gayle was even better in the form of “Brendon McCullum”. The recently retired New Zealand captain McCullum was brought in as captain and mentor. This is considered as the best draft for 2017. The lack of aggressive intent, hitting and captaincy, all problems have one solution; McCullum. His inclusion has surely lifted the squad and their spirits. Along with McCullum there were other impressive changes.
Sunil Narine was brought in the squad. He will surely give a great company to Yasir Shah. Anton Devcich and Grant Elliot from New Zealand were selected. Shaun Tait and Sohail Tanvir were brought in from Peshawar and Karachi respectively. This has make the Lahore squad quite balanced and impressive. Looking forward for some quality cricket and a turnaround in the performance this Year in PSL 2017.
The players who were released from the squad included Adnan Rasool, Kevon Cooper, Chris Gayle, Hammad Aazam, Mustafizur Rahman, and Sohaib Maqsood, Zia ul Haq, Zohaib Khan, Abdul Razzaq, Ehsan Adil, Imran Butt and Mukhtar Ahmad.
PSL 2017 is around the corner and teams have been picked and finalized. Lot of momentum has been built up heading towards the tournaments. The final of PSL 2017 will be held at Qaddafi stadium Lahore and will prove a turning point for Pakistan Cricket.
Lahore Qalandars 16-Member Squad
- Brendon McCullum (C)
- Sunil Narine
- Umar Akmal
- Dwayne Bravo
- Muhammad Rizwan
- Azhar Ali
- Yasir Shah
- Cameron Delport
- Zafar Gohar
- Anton Devcich
- Fakhar Zaman
- Usman Qadir
- Ghulam Mudassar
- Aamer Yamin
- Bilawal Bhatti
- Sohail Tanvir
- Saif Badar
- Grant Elliot
- Muhammad Irfan
- Shaun Tait
Management and Coaching Staff of Lahore Qalandars:
Owner: Rana Fawad
CEO: Rana Atif
Manager: Rana Sameen
Head Coach/Fitness Trainer: Paddy Upton (South Africa)
Assistant Coach: Shahid Aslam
Fielding Coach: Shawn Bradstreet (Australia)
Batting Coach & Consultant: Ijaz Ahmed
Director: Aqib Javed
Advisor & Icon: Mudassar Nazar
Physio: John Gloster (Australia)