LAHORE: Last season, Quetta Gladiators made it to the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore without their first-choice overseas players, and the depleted side was bowled out for 90 by Peshawar Zalmi, eventually losing by a massive 58 runs. This season, Quetta made it to the first eliminator with the help of their two best overseas players – Shane Watson and Kevin Pietersen – but those two pulled out from the Lahore trip and Quetta were knocked out. What would have added to Quetta’s pains was how they came close to winning on Tuesday night, when they needed three to win off the final ball, but fell short by only one run. A team that had the potential to win the title crashed out mainly because they were deprived of their best possible combination. Feeling “hurt” because of the situation, their head coach Moin Khan has urged the PCB to avoid picking players in the PSL draft who refuse to tour Pakistan. He also dismissed the importance of individual players and said the brand of PSL was taking a hit because of players pulling out at the most important stage of the tournament.
“We, in the coming season, should only pick players who have the consent to visit Pakistan,” Moin said after the match. “We do not need to push for individuality as our league has now become a bigger brand and now we need to go on and think about the teams. So going into the future, we don’t need to get these players who don’t want to come to Pakistan. In fact, this is hurting Pakistan as it is sending a negative signal and affects our country’s image as well. Their refusal on visiting Pakistan sends a false impression that we are an unsafe country, but I am pretty sure we are a safe country and they should come here and play. I personally feel we eventually shouldn’t be dependent on these players. If somebody respects Pakistan and the image of the country, he should come and play this league.”