SHARJAH - Former chief selector Salahuddin Ahmed (Sallu) has said the final of Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Karachi will help bring the entire league in Pakistan.

Talking exclusively to The Nation, Sallu, who is adviser to PCB chairman, said: “To play cricket is a different thing, but organising it is entirely a different thing, which PCB chief Najam Sethi has done competently. He is also doing his best to host the PSL final in Karachi. I hope the successful holding of PSL final in Karachi would not only provide cricket-crazy Karachiites an opportunity to see their heroes in action in front of them but also help bring the entire league in the country.”

The former Test cricketer said: “It is the PSL, which helped revive international cricket in Pakistan and it was due to PSL final in Lahore, which convinced the ICC to send officials and players to Pakistan and gradually, more big cricketing nations will come to play here. The PCB chairman is eager to host more cricketing nations and hopefully, he will succeed in doing this too.”

He said standard of the PSL has been improving gradually and it will get huge boost, when it will be played entirely in Pakistan. “Sethi has been working really hard to not only make the league a huge success but also trying to bring it in Pakistan soon.”

Terming Multan Sultans a dark horse, Sallu said that Multan is a great addition to the PSL, which made the event more competitive as well as entertaining, while Sultans have their own fan-following as well, so I think more teams should be brought in so that the league would be more exciting and enthralling. “Team Multan Sultans is a well-balanced side and each and every player there playing its active role to help the team register crucial victories.”

He said that like the previous editions, this edition too is unearthing budding talent. “Zalmi took great risk by giving chance to young Ibtisam Shiekh, who justified his selection by bowling some very overs and providing some important wickets to his side.

“We must appreciate those franchises, who believe in their youngsters and provide proper chances to them so that they may exhibit their prowess and excel not only for their team but also attract the national selectors. Besides Ibtisam, Umaid Asif is also a great talent, who bowled superbly and took four. Hat-tricks of Junaid Khan and Imran Tahir and performance of M Nawaz and others also impressed me a lot and hopefully, to the selectors too,” he added.

Sallu said that very competitive cricket is being played during the third edition. “Every team has been giving out its best and trying to win their respective matches, which making the event more competitive and challenging. For young players, the PSL is not only financially very good, but also providing them chances to sit with senior cricketers and former greats and learn a lot from them.”

When asked about his favourite team and who would be the possible finalists, Sallu said: “All the teams are good and playing well according to their potential. For me, the team Multan Sultans has potential to qualify for final. But the tournament is still wide open and every team is capable of qualifying for the play-offs and then booking berth in the final.”

About Lahore Qalandars, he said that Qalandars management did its best to make the best combination for the PSL as they kept on doing activities throughout the year to get the best out of them, even then they couldn’t perform well.

When asked about the best moment of the PSL-3 so far, Sallu pointed out towards the outstanding catch taken by a great entertainer Shahid Khan Afridi while another by Joe Denly was also superb one. “In this age, such reflexes are rare but Afridi proved that he is still fit and can play more cricket to entertain his fans. The hat-tricks moments of Junaid Khan and Imran Tahir were also inspiring.”

The PSL-3 has a very thin crowd not only in Dubai but also at Sharjah Stadium, which is considered as one of the best crowd-pulling venue. On this, Sallu said: “Yes, I do agree that there is a low crowd at both the venues. According to my information, people have been complaining that the venues are too far and they have to pay hefty amount to get tickets while the fair is also very high, which are the main reasons behind such a thin crowd.”