Players’ absence hurt Lahore, says Aqib Javed

Monitoring Desk

DUBAI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise Lahore Qalandars’ head coach and director cricket Aqib Javed has said that the absence of Chris Lynn and Angelo Mathews hurt their plans in the third edition.

Javed, while talking to ESPNcricinfo in a video interview, said Lahore picked a strong team in the draft which would’ve helped them do wonders in PSL3.

“It is quite frustrating You need to win five or six matches to qualify for the next round in any tournament. But if you lose the first six matches on the trot, it is very disappointing,” said Javed while talking about the Lahore’s dismal start of the tournament.

“A lot of things changed from the time the draft took place till the start of the tournament, he added. “We were depending a lot on the big players. We lost Lynn and Mathews, then unfortunately Cameron Delport’s mother passed away. Such players are important for the team. They are match-winners and that is why you pick them in the higher platinum category.”

He continued by saying that their replacement selections were not as good as their initial picks. “So when your preferred players are not coming, you get to pick players in the replacement draft. And it’s understandable that you won’t get a like-for-like replacement for the platinum players and you have to go to the gold or silver category. This has been one of the biggest loss for us,” he said.

Aqib then laid his plan out which they had made while picking players for the third edition of the PSL. “According to the draft picks, we had a really strong team,” he revealed. “We had two Pakistanis who are very good in this format. Four overseas batting options were also outstanding. Sunil Narine is very good and he showed that last year. And then we had Brendon, Lynn and Mathews, so if you have such good top six batsmen then you need a Sohail Akhtar kind of all-rounder at number seven. Then the idea was that Umar will keep for us. So if you don’t get both these options [Lynn and Mathews] all our plans fell apart.

Lahore, after six consecutive defeats, came back strong and bagged three victories against Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators, but Aqib believes a few earlier matches should have gone in their favour too. “There were a few close matches which could’ve ended in our favour.

In the first game, we had a huge batting collapse where we lost seven wickets for five runs. We should have won that game,” he explained.

“There were few others as well, like the Super Over game [against Islamabad] which could’ve gone either way. We dropped Russell and the ball went for six, so that was a huge turnaround.”

On Lahore’s comeback

Aqib thinks Lahore showed true character by not letting their heads fall even when they had nothing to gain from the remainder of the four matches.

“After losing those six games, it was tough. You can actually see how the team management and the captain keep everyone together and create hope amongst the team. They motivate the team to play for their pride and play their best,” he said.

“You can see how we won the last two games; the Lahore-Karachi game has been one of PSL’s best games ever. So, when you are focused you can turn things around.”