AB de Villiers confirms to visit Pakistan for PSL

With just one month to go for the start of the Pakistan Super League 2019, South African star and former captain AB de Villiers has confirmed he will tour Pakistan for the Lahore Qalandars’ matches scheduled in the cricket-loving nation.

The flamboyant batsman, who will be making his PSL debut for Lahore Qalandars, announced he will feature in back-to-back matches at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in March.

Qalandars will take on defending champions Islamabad United on March 9, and Multan Sultans the following day.

Lahore will also host Eliminator 1 (3 v 4) on March 12, 2019. Karachi’s National Stadium will host a total of five matches: Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi on March 7; Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators on March 10; Qualifier 1 vs Qualifier 2 on March 13; Eliminator 2 on March 15; and the final on March 17.

De Villiers will also be in action on the opening day of the tournament on February 14 in Dubai, when the Qalandars meet Islamabad United.

“I am delighted to confirm that I will represent Lahore Qalandars in front of our home crowds on 9 and 10 March, during the HBL PSL 2019,” de Villiers, one of the most followed and admired cricketers of the modern era, announced.

“I look forward to revisiting the Gaddafi Stadium and aim to play my part in helping Lahore Qalandars achieve something they have been aspiring for since the inception of this tournament in 2016,” he added.

De Villiers’ only previous visit to Lahore was in 2007. In the drawn Test that October, he had scored 45 and eight not out, but returned later in the same month to score 103 not out, 35 and 17 in the first, second and fifth ODIs, respectively.

“I am fully aware that cricket is like a second religion in Pakistan. I still remember the support and appreciation we received in 2007. Furthermore, I feel I have a role to play in helping international cricket return to Pakistan. These have been some of the motivating factors for me to return to Lahore,” said de Villiers.

The 34-year old, who announced a shock retirement from international cricket last year.

“I sympathise with the people of Pakistan because they have been cricket-starved for no fault of theirs, but I am optimistic that the days are not too far when international cricket will return to Pakistan and the stadia will once again be packed with crowds,” de Villiers continued.

“Due to prior family commitments, I will only be available till the last group stage game. I want to thank Lahore Qalandars for giving me an opportunity to represent them and I look forward to not only enjoying my time in PSL 2019 but also contributing in making it a stronger brand.”

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