Gladiators determined to win this time

February 8, 2017 | By

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) fever is once again ready to grip the nation after its massive success in the inaugural edition and Quetta Gladiators are eager to go one step ahead of their previous performance – they lost to Islamabad United in the final.

Looking back at the first edition of PSL, it would be apt to say that neither we were the most expensive team nor we had a star-studded squad but yet Quetta Gladiators won hearts both on and off the field.

The primary focus right from the start was to build a ‘team’ – a set of individuals who would do everything for each other to produce the results which were needed to introduce both Quetta and Gladiators to the cricket world and they did it.

The title would have been icing on the cake but Gladiators have arrived and they are here to stay because they are the ultimate warriors.

Leading up to the season 2 of PSL, the focus was to give youth of Balochistan a platform to show their talent and for that a talent hunt ‘Your Gateway To Stardom’ of U-23 players was conducted in Quetta which was headed by former Test player and chief selector Iqbal Qasim. He was assisted by Gladiators Head Coach Moin Khan and former first-class cricket Zafar Ahmad.

As many as 22 players were shortlisted from all over Balochistan who will get financial support as well as training.

Gladiator’s owner Nadeem Omer said that it was important to get a group of young players from Balochistan who could be nurtured so that they compete with the best players of Pakistan not just for Gladiators team but the national side as well.

“One of the important things which we’ve done post inaugural PSL is to shortlist a group of players from our U-23 talent hunt in Quetta, which is a long-term process,” Nadeem stated. “In the first year, there was just Bismillah Khan from Balochistan in the PSL draft and we selected him.

We believe that other players from Balochistan can come up as well if given the right facilities and training. ‘Your Gateway To Stardom’ is just the start of this process as our young guns will be given top coaching at the best facilities in Pakistan under the supervision of qualified coaches.”

Apart from the talent hunt, Quetta Gladiators revived Inter-School Cricket in the region and the programme was a resounding success.

To support the heroes of the region, Gladiators have signed Pakistan football team captain Kaleem Ullah who is currently playing football in USA while another important addition has been of the Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter Ahmad Mujtaba knowns as ‘Ahmad Wolverine’.

In addition, the Gladiators’ owner touched upon the subject of preparing a better team technically and tactically for the upcoming edition as changes have been made with Kumar Sangakkara, Grant Elliot, Elton Chigumbura and Aizaz Cheema going out and all-rounders Carlos Brathwaite, who helped West Indies secure their second World T20 title against England, David Willey and Rovman Powell coming in. There is another exciting addition in the form of speed merchant Tymal Mills.

“The idea was to cover the grey areas as much as possible and I’m excited with the new signings at the draft. I hope we will go one step further this time,” Nadeem added.

Meanwhile, Gladiators Head Coach Moin Khan – member 1992 World Cup winner and former captain — reflected on the importance of the talent hunt stating that some good players have been scouted. “There are some good players whom we’ve found from the talent hunt but they need time to get mature.

Things happen with time and I’m sure that in two to three years, the youngsters we’ve selected will be in a position to vie for a spot in Quetta Gladiators,” Moin said.

Moin recalled that Gladiators had an amazing run leading up to the final. “We were amazing in the first PSL if you look at what we did – chasing the highest target against Lahore Qalandars, defending the lowest total against Peshawar Zalmi, best power-play, etc. I hope we will do even better this time.”

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