Pakistan is all set for the excitement being brought by the eighth edition of the HBLPSL. The series is set to take place from February 13 to March 19, 2023. Starting from Multan, it will thrill and entertain countless thousands across the cities of Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi.
With the first edition played in 2016, HBLPSL has grown to be one of the top T20 Cricket Leagues in the world over the past seven years. Six franchises; Islamabad United, Peshawar Zalmi, Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators, and Karachi Kings will compete for the title, Lahore Qalandars being the defending champion. The league will be held in two legs; Multan Cricket Stadium and National Bank Cricket Arena will host the first leg from 13-26 February, whereas, the second leg will be hosted by the Gaddafi Stadium and Pindi Cricket Stadium from 26 February to 19 March.
Cricket in Pakistan has a long and rich history from the days of the British empire. English sailors brought cricket to India in the 18th century. It gradually grew from the cities in the south of India towards regions that now constitute Pakistan. The first-ever international cricket match in Karachi was held on 22 November 1935, before the partition of British India, between Sindh and Australian cricket teams. The match was seen by 5,000 Karachiites. Ghulam Mohammad was the captain of team Sind and Frank Tarrant was the captain of the Australian team.
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Following the independence of Pakistan in 1947, cricket in the country developed rapidly and Pakistan was given Test match status at a meeting of the Imperial Cricket Conference at Lord’s in England on 28 July 1952. By 1970s, Pakistan was considered among the top cricketing nations along with India, England, Australia, New Zealand, and West Indies – and in 1992, it won the world cup under the captaincy of Imran Khan. However, the unfortunate attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 led to a disruption of international cricketing in Pakistan. Pakistan Super League was a visionary initiative that has played an important role in bringing back international cricket to the country.
Success of HBLPSL
HBLPSL was founded in 2016 with five teams by the Pakistan Cricket Board and with the support of HBL, Pakistan’s premier financial institution. Later, in 2018 the league was expanded to six teams with the addition of Multan Sultans. Islamabad United is the only team to have won the title twice in 2016 and 2018. The current champion is Lahore Qalandars, which won the last season, held in 2022. PCB initiated HBLPSL by hosting the tournament in Dubai and then slowly and gradually over the years shifted it back to Pakistan.
Last year for HBLPSL Season 7, all 34 matches were played in Karachi and Lahore, welcoming international cricketers to play on the home ground of the league – which was no mean achievement given the above-mentioned disruption of international cricket after the unfortunate attack on Sri Lankan team in 2009.
HBL, Pakistan’s leading financial institution, continues to be the title sponsor of the Pakistan Super League since its inception in 2016 and has retained the title sponsorship for another three years from 2023- 2025. The extended association of HBL with the Pakistan Super League is now what is distinctively recognized as HBLPSL in Pakistan and across the world. In 2025, it intends to celebrate its decade of success with PSL.
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As the leading financial institution in Pakistan, HBL is at the forefront of all development initiatives which include the growth of priority sectors and targeting the unbanked population in the country. Sponsoring PSL is an extension of HBL’s commitment to the prosperity of Pakistan, as the league has greatly contributed to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan along with its multiple professional and business dynamics.
Changing the landscape of Pakistani cricket
HBL is part of the nation’s fabric and its commitment towards cricket remains as strong as ever; its title sponsorship of the HBLPSL, over the last seven years, reflects its passion for the development of youth and the discovery of cricketing talent. HBLPSL has given an opportunity to countless young cricketers to display their talent at a national and international level. HBL argues that its mission is ‘enabling dreams’, and HBLPSL synchronizes perfectly with this philosophy by providing an enabling environment to the emerging cricketers of Pakistan. Through HBLPSL, HBL remains committed to playing its part in promoting Pakistan through the sport across the world.
HBLPSL has led to an unprecedented talent pipeline for Pakistan cricket and has played an instrumental role in discovering players like Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Shahnawaz Dahani, and many more.
HBLPSL has also played a major role in building and depicting a positive and softer image of Pakistan. Cricket is a sport that has universal appeal across the commonwealth nations and now increasingly in the Middle East. HBLPSL has brought back international cricketers to Pakistan who have become ambassadors for the country. The successful execution of the tournament in the past is a testament to Pakistan being a peace-loving and hospitable country full of great potential and possibilities for the rest of the world. Cricket is the only sport that cuts across all strata of society. Last year, Australia, West Indies, England, and New Zealand have played successful test series in Pakistan. The matches attracted huge crowds in the stadiums, and it will be fair to argue that HBLPSL is to be accredited for reinstating the culture of experiencing live cricket in stadiums.
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Pakistan is a cricket-loving nation and cricket is the only sport that cuts across all strata of society. HBLPSL has played a key role in re-igniting the passion for the game in Pakistan and enabling the dreams of young cricketers to be a part of the international cricket circle. The growth and success of this series is a source of pride for the nation. It will continue to provide a platform to enable the dreams of young talent and re-ignite the passion for the sport in the country.