Peshawar Zalmi launch foundation with aim to transcend cricket
Head coach Mohammad Akram (second left), team owner Javed Afridi (second right) and batting consultant Andy Flower (right) at the launch
Peshawar Zalmi, one of the five Pakistan Super League franchises, have announced plans to "transcend beyond the field of cricket" as they prepare for action in early 2016.
Team owner Javed Afridi says he will "celebrate the great traditions of the Pashtuns" through the team, which hopes to "reshape the lives of the underprivileged with an opportunity that has an incredibly vast scope".
Pakistan Super League at a glance
Five franchises: Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators
All teams play each other twice with the top four teams progressing to the play-offs. The top two sides meet to determine the first finalist, with the loser taking on the winner of the game between the teams finishing third and fourth to progress.
League stage: 4th-17th February in Dubai and Sharjah
Play-offs: 19th-23rd February in Dubai
Afridi, cousin of team captain and Pakistan T20 International skipper Shahid, outlined the team's mission at a press conference in London earlier this week.
They have already snapped up several outstanding players including Mohammad Hafeez, Tamim Iqbal, Brad Hodge, Darren Sammy, Junaid Khan and Wahab Riaz, and their coaching staff includes Mohammad Akram, Abdur Rehman and Andy Flower.
Flower led England to three successful Ashes campaigns and the ICC World T20 in 2010 while Peshawar coach Akram recently led his side to victory in Pakistan's National T20 Championship.
Although they aim to make an impact on the field, they are as focussed on the launch of the Peshawar Zalmi Foundation, which will operate along similar lines to the Manchester United Foundation to provide young people with opportunities to harness their talent and skill.
Poignantly, the team itself was launched days before the anniversary of the tragic attack on the Army Public School, with Afridi vowing to take families of the victims to the United Arab Emirates to watch PSL matches and meet the team.
Their statement adds that they will try to spread their wings "across Pakistan since the team owners want to spread a message of peace and harmony far and wide, and don't want to restrict it to one province only."
Peshawar Zalmi have also secured a stadium in Khyber Agency which will be renamed as the Shahid Afridi Peshawar Zalmi Foundation Stadium, which will be opened soon.
They will now begin a series of visits to schools in the region to distribute cricket equipment, coach students and encourage them to play cricket.
"We need your support and prayers in all endeavours that are aimed at reshaping Peshawar and KPK," the mission statement concluded.
Javed Afridi chats with Andy Flower at the launch of the Peshawar Zalmi Foundation
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