Defending champions, Islamabad United, have announced the appointment of Mohammad Sami as the new captain of the franchise for the fourth edition of the PSL. Ali Naqvi, owner of Leonine Global Sports that owns Islamabad United, confirmed the appointment of the veteran pacer through a video message on Islamabad’s social media pages.
Earlier in the week, Ali Naqvi also unveiled the appointment of young leg-spinner Shadab Khan as the vice-captain of the team for the upcoming season.
The two-time winners had been in a captaincy turmoil following the departure of veteran skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who led the team in all the three previous editions. However, Misbah’s decision to continue playing and being picked by Peshawar Zalmi meant that Islamabad United had to look out for another skipper.
Luke Ronchi and Shadab Khan were the front-runners for the post of captaincy, with the former performing brilliantly for the defending champions last season. With this being said, the appointment of Mohammad Sami comes as a surprise to many.
Nevertheless, Sami has been an outstanding strike bowler for the franchise, being their highest wicket-taker with 37 wickets in 27 PSL games. He is also the league’s second highest wicket-taker after Peshawar Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz and has maintained an economy of 6.55. That economy rate is also the second-best in the league’s history among pacers, only behind his fellow left-armer Rumman Raees.
Mohammad Sami had been picked by the Islamabad franchise in the first edition in the gold category, and has proved his mettle ever since. The 37-year-old has played 136 international matches for Pakistan and is the senior-most player in the defending champions roster.
Mohammad Sami was overwhelmed at his appointment and revealed, “It’s an honour for me that Islamabad United and Ali Naqvi have selected me to lead the franchise. I have always aimed to give my all to the team, to repay the faith that they have vested in him, and I hope that I will be able to rise to this challenge too. I feel privileged to have been given this opportunity and I hope that I will continue Islamabad United’s tradition of success.”
On the other hand, Ali Naqvi was also excited about the appointment of Shadab Khan as the vice-captain of the team, claiming that the franchise’s goal is to promote young Pakistani talent.
The franchise owner revealed, “We are very excited to name Shadab Khan as our vice-captain. Congratulations to him. This was the main reason, all of us believe in the PSL. Our players develop as they learn from coaches, senior and foreign players.”
Shadab Khan joined the PSL franchise in the 2nd edition as an emerging player, and his rise ever since then has been commendable. The 20-year-old has since then been an important part of the franchise, with his leg-spinners and handy batting coming to the fore at the most crucial of times.
The fourth edition of the PSL starts from the 14th of February as the defending champions Islamabad United square-off against a rejuvenated Lahore Qalandars in Dubai.