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.


Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

Updated 11 December 2019

Russian athletics champ blasts own sports authorities

  • Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation

MOSCOW: Russian high jump world champion Maria Lasitskene on Tuesday accused her country’s own sports authorities of failing to protect athletes from the deepening doping crisis, in a rare public broadside at top officials.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday handed Russia a new, this time four-year, ban from top global sporting events, including the next summer and winter Olympics and the 2022 soccer World Cup, for tampering with laboratory data.

The ruling means Russian athletes cleared to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will do so under a neutral flag. But Lasitskene and some other Russian track and field athletes face additional obstacles to being cleared for competition.

“I’ve already missed one Olympics and one-and-a-half years of international competition,” Lasitskene wrote in an open letter addressed to Russia’s sports authorities.

“And it seems that’s not the end of it. So who ultimately is to blame? Who’s going to give me back what I’ve lost?” she wrote in the letter published on Russian sports media outlet Championat.Com.

Lasitskene, a three-time world champion, has in the past been critical of Russia’s athletics federation, which has been suspended for doping since 2015, and has been one of the few Russian athletes to voice her anger publicly.

World Athletics, the global body governing athletics, last month halted the reinstatement procedures for Russia’s athletics federation after its president and six others were provisionally suspended for serious breaches of anti-doping rules.

As a result of these fresh sanctions, World Athletics also said it was reviewing the process it has used in the past to clear some Russians, including Lasitskene, to compete internationally as neutrals.

“Why have we arrived at a situation when an athlete is supposed to be delighted about getting neutral status?” Lasitskene wrote.

“Was the Sports Ministry and Russian Olympic Committee really happy with the Russian athletics federation’s work?”

The president of Russia’s Olympic Committee, Stanislav Pozdnyakov, on Monday dismissed the sanctions against Russia as inappropriate and excessive.