Pressure will be on other teams when they face Lahore Qalandars - Atif Rana
Atif Rana, the country manager of the Qatar Lubricants Company (QALCO), which owns the Lahore franchise in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), stated that the pressure will be on the other teams when they face a star-studded Lahore Qalandars lineup in the inaugural edition.
Lahore Qalandars which is the second most expensive team was brought by QALCO for US$ 24 Million and features a right mix of international and domestic players.
Apart from the overseas stars of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper and Mustafizur Rahaman, Lahore have managed to rope in leading Pakistan internationals - Azhar Ali, Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Rizwan, Umar Akmal and Yasir Shah as well.
Pleased with their choices during the draft process, Rana believes that the Qalandars are packed with a lot of potential match-winners.
The squad also features Pakistan's One-Day International captain Ali but Rana revealed that the choice for captaincy will be decided by the team management.
"The pressure will be on the other teams when they face our line-up," Rana said in an exclusive interview to PakPassion.net.
"If you have a team of match-winners then the other teams need to watch out.
"There is no reason to worry about pressure of winning every game as that is exactly what we will do!
"Our head coach Paddy Upton will be the person with the most influence in this decision [choice of captaincy].
"There is still some time to go to the actual start of the tournament so there is no hurry and we will take our time to make this important decision."
Recently, the International Cricket Council provisionally banned the leg-spinner Shah after he was tested positive for a prohibited substance during the doping test.
Rana believes that it will be a big blow for Lahore if Shah misses out on the tournament and is currently waiting for the official announcement from the organisers on the same.
“As things stand today, unfortunately Yasir will not be able to play in the PSL games and we are yet to receive any guidance on procedures on his replacement in our squad.”
The inaugural edition of the PSL will be held in United Arab Emirates after the Pakistan Cricket Board ruled out the option of playing in Pakistan.
Despite, playing the tournament away from home, Rana chose to see the positives in it and remained hopeful in the tournament being played in Pakistan in 2017.
"The best thing about playing in the UAE is that we will have people from Qatar who will find it easier to go Dubai to watch these games.
"Then due to the international nature of teams, we will have West Indies, South African, Australian, England, Sri Lanka and Bangladeshi fans watching these games which gives it a global flavour.
"As you probably know, the reason for holding the first edition of this tournament in the UAE is to make sure that there are no security related concerns which can cause a hindrance as even a minor incident can cast a dark shadow on the future of the PSL.
"It is our wish that we should play some of the matches in the next edition in Pakistan.
"In fact there is a very strong belief amongst all of us as franchise owners that this should happen.
"We can already see a steady improvement in the security situation in Pakistan so having 20-25% of the matches in Pakistan in the next season is a distinct possibility."
Rana feels that the passion of cricket in the country can make the PSL a successful venture on a long-term basis.
“The Pakistan market in terms of advertising/marketing is based around the 200 million people mark, out of which 70% can be classed as “cricket crazy”.
“For most people, there is absolutely no other entertainment than cricket.
“This league, like all the other leagues in the area, will have a lot of backing from the masses so the future is extremely bright.”
Apart from Upton, Lahore Qalandars have Ijaz Ahmed as the batting coach and Shahid Aslam as the assistant coach for the 2016 edition which begins in February.
© Cricket World 2016