Brace Yourselves Cricket Fans! AB De Villiers to Play PSL 4 Matches in Lahore
AB De Villiers to play PSL 4 Matches in Lahore: All the cricket fanatics out there, it's time to brace yourself for having to see AB de Villiers playing in Lahore this season. The former South African batsman is to team up with Lahore Qalandars in the upcoming Pakistan Super League. The matches that De Villiers is going to play are scheduled on March 9 and 10.
The international cricketer, De Villiers who once said "he had a role to play in helping international cricket return to Pakistan," will be one of his own league and the most high-profile player to play in Pakistan after the terrorist Attack in Lahore that closed doors to international cricket in Pakistan back in 2009.
How did It Started?
De Villiers, who had got his retirement from international cricket at the end of IPL 2018, was chosen by Lahore Qalandars in the draft in November and was incipiently contracted on to play only seven of the team's eight league games in the UAE leg of the tournament.
Nevertheless, he affirmed on Monday that he would be ready for his team's final two league matches - against Multan Sultans and Islamabad United - in Lahore too before he returns home. De Villiers said he was available only for the group stage, because of some family commitments.
AB De Villiers Says:
"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 stated in a press release. "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."
"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."
"I sympathize 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."
RateDesi notes that former Cricket South Africa CEO Haroon Lorgat also performed a role to convince AB de Villiers to play PSL 4 matches in Pakistan. Lorgat toured Pakistan various times lately, with the most current being the Lahore Qalandars player development programme.
Unquestionably, this former South African Cricketer will be one of the most highly rated and high-profile players to play in Pakistan, after Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis, Morne Morkel, David Miller, and Imran Tahir who visited Pakistan with the World XI side for the three T20Is in the Independence Cup in September 2017. Furthermore, few other international cricketers like Rilee Rossouw, Colin Ingram, and JP Duminy have also seen playing matches in Pakistan for their respective PSL teams.
Noticeably, the Independence Cup 2017 was happened to be the second international tournament to held in Pakistan after the Landmark tour of Zimbabwe back in 2015.
Zimbabwe was the first team to be agreed on playing a tournament in Pakistan after the suspension of international cricket from Pakistan due to a terrorist attack targeted on the Sri Lankan team in 2009. Since then the wounds of that incidents have never quite healed, and the international cricketers seem to be reluctant in visiting Pakistan. However, the Independence Cup was then followed by a T20I against Sri Lanka in Oct 2017, subsequent to which West Indies toured Pakistan for three T20I in April last year.
Source: Dispatch News Desk
PCB Chairman & Lahore Qalandar Captain Welcome this Decision
PCB chairman Ehsan Mani ushered in de Villiers' decision of visiting Pakistan in the following words:
"I am confident that de Villiers's decision at the back of his fellow World XI, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, and the Windies' cricketers' decisions to play in Lahore will encourage other leading cricketers and international sides to visit this cricket-passionate country,"
Mohammad Hafeez, the captain of Lahore Qalandars, believed de Villiers would take home fabulous memories from the matches.
"Not just me but the entire Lahore Qalandars side will wait eagerly for the unique experience of sharing with him a flight to Lahore and then being in the same team kit in front of what I envisage will be a packed house," Hafeez said. "This will again be an opportunity for the Lahore crowds to show their passion, respect, love, and hospitality, and I am confident that AB will take home memories which will bring him back again and again to this beautiful piece of land."
The 4th season of the PSL will kick-off from February 14 with the final scheduled on March 17. The last four league matches along with knock-outs will be played in Pakistan, that will start from March 7 in Karachi and Lahore. The opening teams will Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United.
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