KARACHI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Islamabad United owner Ali Naqvi is confident his team has the winning combination to lift another title.
One of the most successful franchises, United has lifted the title twice. While the team may not look much in terms of star power, Naqvi believes the team will continue to play great cricket during PSL, something which they do every year.
When asked what are his targets for this year's tournament, Naqvi told , “Same as every year. To play great cricket, to learn from each other and of course to win.”
The Hong Kong-based banker hopes that more United players can make their way into the national team. “We have a really good crop of young emerging players and their progress will be a surprise to our fans,” he said.
According to Naqvi, the secret to United’s success is that the coaching and support staff of the team is fully empowered.
“My message to the players and the entire team is simple – I am there to encourage and support them. To convey anything apart from that would be counter-intuitive and counter-productive to the whole exercise.”
“As for the success, I think it goes back to our faith in processes. We believe results are a by-product of a strong and smart process and it doesn’t matter if we win as we did in PSL 1 or PSL 3, or don’t win like PSL 2, as long as our process is strong, I am satisfied,” Naqvi said.
Speaking about Misbah ul Haq who led the team in the first three editions, Naqvi said that though he will be missed, United have enough experience to make up for the former Pakistan captain’s absence. “He is an exceptional cricketing mind but this is an eventuality that we had prepared for, considering Misbah’s age and form. We are confident that we have enough experience in our coaching and playing team to make up for his absence,” he said.
Responding to a question regarding United players making to the national team, Naqvi said he is proud to see Shadab and others bringing laurels for Pakistan.
“Right now we have six guys who have been selected for the national team after playing for Islamabad. For us, this is as satisfying as winning two out of three PSLs,” he said.
Naqvi also shared his views on how far the PSL has come since its inception. He said he is proud that it has become one of the top leagues in the world.
“PSL is the one truly world-class product from Pakistan which is for the masses. It has paved the way for the national team’s dominance in T20Is, has captured the imagination of the public in such a way that it has higher TV ratings than anything else in the country and has played its role in the revival and return of cricket in Pakistan,” he said.
"Pakistan’s results in T20s is proof enough of PSL’s contribution towards Pakistan cricket," he added.
"For the first time ever, a set of players beyond the national team can be financially secure. This will not only create heroes who are not only exceptional players but are also financially very successful. This will further inspire and galvanise a much broader set of youngsters.”
Highlighting the results of PSL, Naqvi added PSL has provided a higher understanding of cricket, a better fitness and professionalism standard throughout the domestic circuit and a chance for players to become stars.