The HBL Pakistan Super League is set to begin at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium for the third successive year on February 22, 2018. The seminal sporting event until March 10, 2018, will see six of the best teams from the world of Pakistani cricket battle it out for supremacy in a bid to take home the coveted PSL trophy.
In addition to defending champions Peshawar Zalmi (captained by Darren Sammy), the series includes regulars Lahore Qalandars, Karachi Kings, Islamabad United, and Quetta Gladiators. Joining the series for the first time will be the Multan Sultans, led by their new captain Shoaib Malik.
Spectators are guaranteed to catch their favourite star players in actions, as the 2018 tournament includes Brendon McCullum, Darren Sammy, Shahid Afridi, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Misbah ul Haq, Shoaib Malik, Kevin Peterson, Mohammed Amir, Hassan Ali, and Kieron Pollard.
They will all be fighting for the chance to win a range of beautifully designed trophies by Swarovski that include the Championship Trophy, Player of the Tournament, Best Player on the Field, Best Bowler of the Tournament, Best Batsman of the Tournament, the Safest Hand Award, as well as the Spirit of the Tournament Award.
The trophy was unveiled on February 21, 2018 at Dubai International Stadium after it was delivered by helicopter to defending captain Darren Sammy of Peshawar Zalmi, who arrived with the five other team captains in an Uber Limousine, flanked by two Tesla vehicles (see main image).
As preparations are finalised for the tournament, Dubai Sports City’s own ICC Academy has welcomed all the teams daily to train in their gym facilities and on their grounds, either in their own personal training sessions, in intra-team matches, or in practice matches with other teams.
Will Kitchen, ICC Academy General Manager said: “Every team has engaged in intensive training and preparation at ICC Academy this week including time in the nets, outfield and a number of practice games. The six franchises now mean than 11 professional teams have now chosen to use ICC Academy as their preferred training venue so far in 2018.
“The wickets the teams have prepared on are the same as those they will play at DIS, enabling them to simulate the same conditions they will compete in at the Ring of Fire.”
Work is also underway to maintain the pitch over at the Dubai International Stadium, where workers have been tasked to service the grass and wicket to the utmost standards of perfection for such a high-class tournament.
The opening ceremony of the event commences at 6pm on February 22, 2018, and will feature performances by Jason Derulo, Ali Zafar, Abida Praveen, Shehzad Roy, and the Sachal Performance Orchestra, with organisers promising some additional surprise entertainment elements.
The ceremony will raise the curtain on the first match of the tournament between defending champions Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans, taking place between 9pm to 12:30am.
A practice session in progress (image below).