Windies legend Darren Sammy hopeful of PSL glory with Peshawar Zalmi

Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy believes the quality of the upcoming Pakistan Super League will be higher than previous editions with very little between the six sides competing in the UAE and Pakistan. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019

Windies legend Darren Sammy hopeful of PSL glory with Peshawar Zalmi

LONDON: Peshawar Zalmi captain Darren Sammy believes the quality of the upcoming Pakistan Super League will be higher than previous editions with very little between the six sides competing in the UAE and Pakistan this year.
Peshawar, the 2017 champions, have bolstered their ranks and, despite fears they will struggle, Sammy is confident the depth of his squad will be enough to wrest back the trophy from Islamabad United.
“All six teams are very balanced and that is good because we will get to see quality cricket in HBL PSL once again,” he said.
“I have had the great honor of leading a very talented Peshawar Zalmi side for two years and, this year, we have greater depth in the squad and the experience that guys like Misbah (ul-Huq) and (Kieron) Pollard bring to our squad is invaluable.
“We always get great support from our Zalmi fans in the UAE but we are all very excited to experience the love and warmth of crowds in Karachi once again. We are Zalmis and our goal is always to win.”
Captain of the defending champions Islamabad, Mohammad Sami thinks he has enough to keep the title in the Pakistani capital.
“I have looked at the squad and there are so many options for us. The young guys have impressed everyone in our training sessions and we are carrying on our tradition of developing the emerging talent of Pakistan. I hope I can lead this group to another trophy.
“We are all working really hard but in the end, we just want to keep things simple, play good cricket and if we do that then the results will come on their own.”
One of the main challengers to Islamabad’s crown are the Karachi Kings, and their captain Imad Wasim is proud of the mix of Pakistani and International talent.
“The squad has a balanced core of local players and some excellent foreign players. We are keen to do well this year and get our hands on the trophy.
“It will be a dream come true for all of us to lift the trophy in front of our home crowd on 17 March and we are going to do everything in our control to win it.”
Sarfraz Ahmed, who was confirmed as Pakistan’s captain for the summer’s World Cup in England — despite serving a ban for racism — is hoping his Quetta Gladiators can go one better having come close to sealing the PSL title in recent seasons.
“We have come close in the past three years, but we have not been able to get the desired results. The entire Quetta Gladiators squad is determined to change that this time around.
“We focused on our retention list this year since we wanted consistency in developing our squad. It helps that we have senior pros like Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw returning and they will help the young boys ease into the tournament.
“I am particularly excited about our young pace bowling talent and I can’t wait to see Ghulam Mudassar and Mohammad Hasnain in action whenever they get a chance.”
The PSL’s early stages take place in the UAE — at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi — before moving over to Karachi and Lahore for the playoffs.


Leonard, Clippers outfox Lakers in ‘Battle of Los Angeles’

Updated 3 min 19 sec ago

Leonard, Clippers outfox Lakers in ‘Battle of Los Angeles’

  • The two LA teams made significant changes but the Clippers appeared to have added more value

Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers won the opening round of Los Angeles’s revitalized battle for basketball supremacy on Tuesday, defeating LeBron James and the Lakers 112-102 in a pulsating season-opening clash at the Staples Center.

Leonard, who arrived at the Clippers in the off-season after leading Toronto to the NBA title last season, wasted no time roaring back into action, leading the scoring with 30 points.

“It was great. A lot of emotions, game one,” said Leonard, who grew up in Riverside, 50 miles east of Los Angeles.

“I am just happy we came out and got a victory. We had great practices and some carry over from that tonight.”

The Clippers attacked the rim, forced easy turnovers, used a stingy defense to keep James and his new sidekick Anthony Davis in check.

Leonard also had six rebounds and five assists, reserve guard Lou Williams finished with 21 points and power forward Montrezl Harrell tallied 17 points and seven rebounds.

James shot seven-of-19 for 18 points and Davis shot eight-of-21 for 25 points for the Lakers who are hoping their offseason changes will boost the team’s fortunes after they finished a disappointing 37-45 and failed to qualify for the postseason for the sixth season in a row.

“It is the first game,” said James. “It was a huge test. We have a lot of room to improve. We are a new group with a new system. We did some good things and we did some not so good things.

“We look forward to getting some film and seeing some of the mistakes we made.”

The one bright spot for the Lakers was newcomer Danny Green who scored 28 points by hitting 10 of his 14 field-goal attempts, including seven of nine from beyond the arc. Davis said he and James will need time to get used to each other on the court.

“We are both aggressive so sometimes we miss each other,” Davis said. “We are still learning and just trying to figure it out. This is game one of many.”

A 19-7 run to begin the fourth quarter helped the Clippers seal the win and hold off the Lakers the rest of the way.

The two Los Angeles teams made some of the most signficant changes but the Clippers appeared to have added more value.

Every one of their bench players reached double figures on Tuesday as they outscored the Laker reserves 60-19. Williams outscored the Lakers reserves by himself.

He said the Clippers didn’t want to just win, that they are tired of playing second fiddle to the Lakers and wanted nothing more than to dominate their city rivals.

“We always play with a chip on our shoulder,” Williams said. “For last two months all the talk has been about the Lakers versus the Clippers.

“We hear that we are the Junior Varsity team, or little brother, or whatever. We are pros too. That’s why we have a chip on our shoulder.”

The Lakers roared to a 13-2 lead after a basket by Davis less than four minutes into the contest. However, the Clippers stormed back, cutting the deficit to 25-22 at the end of the quarter.

Clippers outscored the Lakers 40-29 in the second quarter and led 62-54 at halftime.

Thanks to the addition of Leonard from Toronto and Paul George from Oklahoma City, the Clippers are one of the early front runners to contend for a title.

“We would love to win a championship and I think we are going to compete at high level and give ourselves an opportunity,” said Williams