Islamabad—Veteran Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood has confirmed his interest in being part of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), terming the tournament an exciting prospect with the likes of Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen in it.
Azhar, in a column for Pakpassion.net, revealed that he has forwarded his name for the draft and hopes to be picked up by any one of the franchises.
Azhar has been playing county cricket in England since he last featured for Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies.
“I am really looking forward to participating in the PSL. I have forwarded my name for the draft and will hopefully be picked to play for one of the teams,” said the 40-year-old allrounder.
The PSL kicks off from February 4, next year and will continue for 20 days.
Players like Gayle and Pietersen have already confirmed their participation in the PSL and Azhar has expressed his excitement about the league’s prospects.
“The tournament promises to be an exciting one with a number of top international players like Chris Gayle participating in it,” he said.
Mahmood, who currently plays domestic one-day cricket for English county Surrey, said that it would have been special if the inaugural season of the PSL had been held in Pakistan but backed the league to be successful regardless of the venue.
“Ideally, and I have said this before, I would have liked this to have taken place in Pakistan.”
“It would have been nicer to have this being played in front of our youngsters on home grounds as they can learn a lot from watching stars on the field,” said Azhar from the spectator’s point of view.
“Holding it in the UAE also has great benefits for Pakistan players who will be able to gain experience by playing alongside the top names in cricket,” said Azhar who has represented Pakistan in 21 Tests and 143 ODIs.
Former all-rounder Azhar Mahmood feels pacer Muhammad Amir should play more domestic cricket saying this way it will give his body more time to get stronger and avoid the situation where he breaks down with an injury when playing international cricket.
Azhar said Amir is doing very well in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy qualifying rounds with plenty of wickets to his name. “I am pleased with Amir’s performance but I would still like him to play more domestic cricket as unfortunately, taking wickets in domestic cricket is relatively easy,” Pakpassion.net quoted him as saying.
Azhar said given a bowler of Amir’s talent and the domestic conditions, one would expect him to take wickets with ease. “Remember he is bowling again after a gap of five years and his body has to adjust to such stresses put on it after such a long time,” he said.
Azhar said he believes it would be best if Amir is allowed to play one complete season before being considered for any international assignment. “This way it will give his body time to get stronger and avoid the situation where he breaks down with an injury when playing international cricket,” he said adding then that would indeed be a big loss for Pakistan.
Azhar said the fact that Amir is performing so well at the domestic level must also be putting pressure on some of the other bowlers who are already part of the national side.
“This type of healthy competition can only be good news for Pakistan cricket as it makes all the bowlers work harder and perform better to hold their positions in the team,” he said.
Speaking about Pakistani spinners reported for illegal bowling actions, Azhar said Pakistan spinners seem to be most affected by the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) new rules.
“The question is that what the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is doing about this affliction. My view is simple, the issues with bowling actions need to be sorted at the domestic level and not left to be discovered at the international level,” he said.
Azhar said the PCB, therefore, needs to take strong action and clampdown on such actions at the domestic level to avoid embarrassment at the international stage.—Agencies