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“THE TEAM OF SOUTH PUNJAB”

Hussnain Magsi
A simple dish cooked and served with heart is way more delicious and fulfilling than a fancy dish made with the intention of making profit. The latest induction in the PSL franchise roster, the new Multan Sultans, is a dish cooked with heart. People of South Punjab are very fond of good dishes & they surely have liked this one.
Having been deprived of international cricket for more than 7 years due to security reasons, Pakistan desperately needed a platform to present its positive image in front of the world in order to slowly and gradually bring cricket back to the country. At such a time,the inauguration of PSL was nothing less than a blessing! Since its very inception in 2016, the Cricket league has become the apple of Pakistani people’s eyes. People were hungry for Cricket, and PSL has fulfilled their appetite in a fine way! Recent history elaborates to us the strong impact of having a stable cricket league, on the shape of the game domestically and in terms of introduction of raw young talent on a bigger stage. Ignoring all the other pros for a while, such leagues provide young players with opportunities to play and work with stalwarts of game from around the globe, exposure to the big stage and competitiveness of highest level, which alone is priceless. You know what else is priceless? The happiness and joy PSL brings to the people, the young and the old alike. Cricket has always been a silver lining in our cloudy horizons as a nation, and PSL, well it paints the whole cloud silver for a while. It won’t be wrong to say that PSL has become the fifth season in Pakistan….The most cherished and festive of all.
Added to PSL as its 6th team just over a year ago, the 6th team has already seen more changes than the elder 5. Its initial owners, The Schon Group, failed to fulfil their fiscal responsibilities, which resulted in the termination of their contract by PCB after just the 1 season. The franchise was sold again, this time to a consortium from South Punjab itself, led by the young and energetic Ali Khan Tareen. It has not even been a month since he won the bid, but Ali has already made his intentions about the franchise very clear. Addressing media after winning the bid, Ali said, ‘’Cricket is a belief, a passion that unites Pakistan. This franchise belongs to the people of South Punjab. InshaAllah we will find raw talent from every part of south Punjab, foster it and present it before the world through our team” When asked about the name of new franchise, he said ‘’First name will obviously be Multan, because of South Punjab. That’s why we bought the team in the first place. For second name, we’ll ask the people of South Punjab. Its their team, whatever they decide will be the name!’’ And what he said, he did. Suggestions were invited, a few good names were shortlisted. Online polls were conducted, but for the final verdict, common people on the streets of different cities of South Punjab were asked. They liked ‘’Multan Sultans’’ better than others, and so the name will remain the same. The takeaway is that right from the very first step of hopefully a remarkable journey, he has shown his priorities….which are south Punjab and its people. He has taken people in confidence, which gives them a sense of ownership that is priceless! He has shown that he values the people, and it is something that makes a strong and unbreakable bond between the franchise and the people. He is trying to show people that it is their team, and as a native of the region, I feel he is succeeding so far!
South Punjab is a very large underdeveloped part of the most developed province of the country. Its a very sizeable region in terms of both, the area and the population. People here are generally very compassionate, caring and nice. Their lifestyle is simple & they find joy and happiness in the simplest of things. The common language in this region is Saraiki, which is known as one of the softest and sweetest languages. The people are very passionate about the things that matter to them, and Cricket…..Cricket means a lot to them! Cricket is their favourite pastime. Cricket is one page they are all united on! People sometimes literally put their daily life businesses to a halt in order to watch and follow Cricket matches, such is the passion and craze for cricket in the region. In shape of Multan Sultans, they get a brand that endorses their region, that endorses them! And for people from a neglected area who don’t have a lot of entertainment opportunities, it is a bigger blessing than most people would ever be able to understand!
Although the new owners could not pick the players themselves, they’d still be very happy with what they have got. The players for the team were picked by a team of experts from PCB before it was resold. Regardless of the city and the owners, the franchise would still have had a massive fan base, thanks to the presence of Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik in its ranks! Both have a huge number of fans, and are superstars of the game. Multan Sultans have a very good and well balanced squad, and will surely be a strong contender for the PSL title this year. Its a fine blend of youth and experience, with the names of match winners like Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Steve Smith, Muhammad Irfan, Joe Denly, Daniel Christian, Junaid Khan and Muhammad Abbas to exciting youngsters like Shan Masood, Qais Ahmed, Nicholas Pooran, Laurie Evans and the exciting young pacer, Muhammad Ilyas!
Add to it the passion and vision of the new team owners, and the passionate support of the fans, you get a hell of a combination!
The new Multan Sultans is not even a month old yet. They haven’t even released their logo yet, that’s how young this franchise is. But regardless of all that, the response of people has been very overwhelming.
They have welcomed the team and its new owners with open arms! Ali Khan Tareen, when asked the reason to buy the franchise, said “The reason we bought this franchise is South Punjab. If some other franchise, say Lahore, was available at the same price, I wouldn’t even bid for it. Our only interest is south Punjab.’’ He must be pretty happy with the response from the South Punjab so far! In a very short time, he has, on behalf of his partners as well, shown that this is not just another corporate profit-seeking venture, but an attempt to provide people of south Punjab with a platform to showcase their talent and abilities at a larger level….that it is indeed the team of South Punjab!
So if you are not a fan of Multan Sultans yet, I won’t even try to convince you. Ali Tareen will! He is set out to win hearts, and he has really put his heart and soul into it, and isn’t that all he can do?
As a famous Saraiki verse says
Tu deeva bal k rakh cha, hawa janry, Khuda Janry
(Don’t worry about the wind, you just light up the candle and leave the rest to God!)
Here’s wishing Multan Sultans and PSL in general, all the best!



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