Atif, Aaqib confident Shaheen will change Qalandars' fate in HBL PSL 7

The duo opined that Shaheen has groomed immensely in the last two years and he is an 'inborn' leader

Atif, Aaqib confident Shaheen will change Qalandars' fate in HBL PSL 7 PHOTO COURTESY: PSL

Chief Executive Lahore Qalandars Atif Rana and head coach Aaqib Javed have high hopes from Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has been elevated to the role of captaincy for HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) season seven.

In an exclusive interview with Cricket Pakistan, the duo opined that Shaheen has groomed immensely in the last two years and he is an 'inborn' leader.

"Qalandars trained Shaheen for last two years for this role, he was the vice-captain and now it's a dream come for us as a franchise that a youngster will be leading," Atif said.

"Shaheen has an inborn leadership talent and as a player, he has established himself as one of the greatest bowlers currently in international cricket," Aaqib praised.

Aaqib emphasized that no HBL PSL franchise has a pacer like Shaheen in their ranks and also disclosed the idea of appointing Shaheen as captain.

"Shaheen is leading with performances. He bowls at the front and if you access all teams, no one has a bowler as classy as Shaheen. Batters look to score but while facing Shaheen, they look to save themselves from getting out."

"Captain needs few things which are important for captaincy. Own performances, honesty and decision making, not thinking of who is senior but have the capability of enforcing decisions. We saw all these things in him," Aaqib added.

Qalandars have only managed to play one final in all six HBL PSL seasons. Atif Rana defends Aaqib by saying that a coach is not responsible for losses and holds previous captains in charge responsible for not winning a single trophy for Qalandars' fans.

"When Aaqib select squad, everyone praises. Cricket is a game where the captain has command inside the ground. Aaqib's role is to develop players and he has given Shaheen and Haris to Pakistan," he added.

"Captains in the past had to win us a trophy and now the onus is on Shaheen to achieve this," he added.

Meanwhile, Atif also talked about the new financial model of HBL PSL and said that all franchises aim to make this competition bigger.

"We [franchises] don't want money out of the financial model, we want this league to become number one in the world. We were urging PCB for quite some time to rectify these challenges and a new model has been created which is good," Atif added.

The duo also reflected on Qalandars' Players Development Program (PDP). Aqib disclosed that after partnerships in Australia and England, they are also in talks for a contract in South Africa.

"We identify players, train them, send them to play in different environments where they can learn," Aaqib said.

"A player sent to Melbourne Stars based on Aqib's recommendation can be wrong. They trust us they know players go through a complete process whilst we send them," Atif added.

Aaqib is quite optimistic that this year will be different for Qalandars compared to previous years. 

"Last year, we started well in Karachi but our combination deteriorated after the event was postponed and moved to UAE. This year we will look to play well."