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LAHORE: Despite facing 55 runs defeat against Multan Sultans in their opening match on Sunday, Karachi Kings is optimistic of bouncing back to show their best in the remaining fixtures of the HBL-PSL-9.

With a new coach and captain, Karachi Kings entered in the event with oodles of optimism, as they snapped up West Indies superstar Kieron Pollard in their squad who is determined to swing their fortunes with his all-round capabilities.

They have also secured the services of Australia all-rounder Daniel Sams as well as retained seasoned campaigner Shoaib Malik. Pace bowling is further stacked with Mir Hamza and Anwar Ali who will provide squad depth given their vast domestic experience and international exposure as well in the remaining matches.

It may be noted that Karachi Kings managed to bag only three wins in the 2023 season and despite having the firepower in their ranks to spring more surprises, they could not coalesce as a unit.

Karachi Kings, which is the 2020 HBL PSL champions are determined to hit the ground running early on as the highly-experienced Shoaib Malik will be looking to shine at the twilight of his career. Phil Simmons comes with a wealth of coaching experience. He coached West Indies and is at present the head coach of Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and LA Knight Riders in Major League Cricket (MLC).

“The decision to bring in Phil Simmons as head coach was influenced by his impressive credentials, including being a T20 World Cup-winning coach. His experience in guiding teams to success at the highest level adds a valuable dimension to our coaching setup, and we look forward to harnessing his expertise for a successful campaign in the upcoming HBL PSL edition and to build a team for the future”, said Salman Iqbal, owner of Karachi Kings.

Kings retained Shan Masood as their captain who currently leads the Pakistan Test team. Karachi Kings’ director Haider Azhar shed light on the decision to appoint Shan as skipper of the side.

Salman said, “Securing Shan Masood for Karachi Kings was nothing short of a coup for us. His leadership qualities and captaincy feats are well-documented and we are proud to have a local boy from Karachi lead the team. On a personal note, having worked closely with Shan in the past, I believe he is the ideal captain for our team that will be undergoing a transitional phase and we expect him to be central to our project.”

On the objectives set for the HBL-PSL-9, Haider Azhar said, “Our first objective for this year has been to set up a platform and building blocks for the future, all the while assembling a squad that would be competitive in the upcoming edition of HBL PSL. We have a healthy mix of experience and youth in our squad with five players under the age of 24 years, supported by seasoned campaigners and proven performers.”

Salman Iqbal, highlighting the importance and progress of the HBL PSL, said: “The progress of the HBL PSL over the years has been phenomenal, not only elevating the standard of T20 cricket but also playing a pivotal role in the development of Pakistani talent. The league has become significant platform for showcasing local talent, providing them exposure and opportunities at the international level.”

Talking about Karachi’s fortunes for the upcoming season, Salman said, “Karachi Kings fans can anticipate a major turnaround this year. With a strategic rebuild, a balanced squad, experienced leadership, and a focus on exciting yet measured cricket, we are optimistic about our prospects in the upcoming season. The team is geared up for a competitive campaign, aiming to deliver performances that will make our fans proud and contribute to a successful journey in the ninth edition of HBL PSL.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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