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Sir Viv backs new T20 league to take off

Friday, February 5, 2016

DUBAI—West Indies icon Sir Vivian Richards likes the potential of the inaugural Pakistan Super League and says the tournament has the ability to take off once it attracts the right mix of players. Sir Viv, one of West Indies’ greatest ever captains and finest batsmen, is serving as mentor for Quetta Gladiators—one of five teams in the latest global Twenty20 championship which runs from February 4-23.

“I have been involved with Big Bash for three years and I have been involved with Indian Premier League (IPL) for one year and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) too, so this is an extension,” Sir Viv said.

“So I believe that with the magnificent cricketers that you have in this region this could get better. It depends on the individuals who are part of the team themselves and I do believe there is enough personnel here for this league to be a success.”

Several West Indies players are set to feature in the tournament. Superstar opener Chris Gayle and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo will turn out for Lahore Qalandars while the much sought-after all-rounder Andre Russell and leg-spinner Samuel Badree are on Islamabad United’s roster.

West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy has signed with Peshawar Zalmi with batsman Lendl Simmons expected to feature for Karachi Kings. Sir Viv, who led West Indies in 50 of his 121 Tests without ever losing a series, said the tournament would lend to the rich tradition of Pakistan cricket.

“I have always enjoyed Pakistan cricket. Even though we as the West Indies team had success then, there was one team whom we always found problematic and that was Pakistan,” Sir Viv said.

“Maybe you don’t have the players in form as you would like to, but certainly Pakistanis are always filled with magnificent talent.”

Sir Viv was quick to point out that his role in the PSL would not be a coaching one but more as a motivator.

“It is not about strokes. I am here basically to try and instill as much confidence as possible,” said the 63-year-old, a former West Indies coach.

“T20 cricket is all spontaneous, not the things that we have on a regular basis and so it is tough to coach. What I am here for is to inspire and pass whatever information that is necessary.” (AP)