By Seema Gul
DUBAI: The Peshawar Zalmi outfit spent another grueling day as they sharpened their focus for the opening matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) that commences on Thursday with a game between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators.
For the second successive day the players travelled to the picturesque ICC Academy Ground a few kilometers away from the Dubai Cricket Stadium — venue of the opening games —
There was more encouraging news for both the players and the team managements besides millions of Zalmi supporters as one of the fastest bowlers of all time Australian Shaun Tait joined the team.
The lanky 32 year old who made a surprise return to the Aussie T20 squad for the games against India looked razor sharp and claimed that he was eager to make an impression from the outset. Tait was kept off the bowling crease by head coach Mohammad Akram as the pacer needed rest following a lengthy 14 hour journey from Sydney to Dubai today morning.
Tait expressed his happiness at becoming a part of the opening edition of the PSL; he feels that he is making a vital contribution towards improving the image of Pakistan cricket.
“I am thrilled to be a part of the Peshawar Zalmi team. This squad looks to be incredibly talented and moreover the fact that we are contributing towards the betterment of Pakistan cricket makes me doubly excited.”
Tait whose thunderbolts have been clocked at 160 kilometers feels that he can bowl quick in the PSL too, he added that the experience of rubbing shoulders with Pakistan’s best T20 talent is an added bonus since he is yet to tour the country despite making his international debut more than a decade ago.
“I missed out on the opportunity of touring Pakistan with the Australian A team due to an injury some 10 years ago, now I feel that by playing with some of the best talent in the country, I can get a sense of the cricketing environment and skillset that the players possess.”
All-rounder Jim Allenbye — another experienced foreign recruit — also spoke to the media during the training session and expressed his happiness and excitement at being a part of the Zalmi franchise especially with its commitment of improving the standard of the game in the region.
Akram who supervised the net session and the extensive training and fielding sessions that the team underwent returned to the team hotel a satisfied man.
“It was a fine workout today; the players look fit and are raring to go. Over international recruits and the entire support staff put in a big effort today. I am very pleased with how we trained today and hope to maintain the same kind of momentum in the days leading up to our first match.”
Seema Gul is Freelance journalist based in Pakistan. She tweets @