Pakistan Cricket Board today confirmed Daren Sammy, Javed Miandad, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as mentors of the inaugural Pakistan Junior League, which will be held in Lahore in October this year. Miandad, who played in six World Cups from 1975-1996, will be the league mentor, while Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib will be the team mentors.
The four stalwarts share six major world titles, 1,559 international matches, 43,057 runs and 992 wickets between them. Sammy and Shahid were team-mates in the Peshawar Zalmi team in 2017 when the team in yellow won the HBL Pakistan Super League at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Javed Miandad will be involved as an overall mentor, assisting the mentors of the six sides and the players during the tournament.
Afridi, Sammy and Shoaib will be part of the team dug-outs in the build up to and during the Pakistan Junior League, which will be played at the backend of Pakistan versus England T20I that is scheduled to conclude on 2 October.
In addition to the team mentor roles, the four household names will also serve as event ambassadors and will use their knowledge, influence and attraction to promote and publicise the first of its kind event.
Three more team mentors will be announced in due course.
PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract Javed Miandad, Daren Sammy, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik as mentors for the Pakistan Junior League. Their involvement in the Pakistan Junior League will help us achieve one of our event objectives that revolves around helping future generation of cricketers to achieve the champions and match-winning approach and mindset.
“The involvement of the four icons also confirms that we are on track for delivering a successful event that will go on to help Pakistan cricket in more than one way. Besides creating a winning environment and developing skills and temperament of the teens, we are committed to developing new properties and Pakistan Junior League is an event in that direction.”
Javed Miandad: “I have always enjoyed being part of the coaching set-up and this opportunity provides me with a chance to return to the field, work with players with bigger objectives and help them achieve excellence. Pakistan Junior League is an exciting and unique product, and I not only look forward to making a meaningful contribution but also project this league as a game-changer.”
Daren Sammy: “I am pleased to have been awarded with the opportunity to be involved in the inaugural Pakistan Junior League. I am fully behind the concept and believe it will assist in identifying and fast-tracking outstanding cricketers.
“I have been part of Pakistan cricket system since 2016 and am a witness to some great local talent that has blown me away. I now look forward to working more closely with the teenagers, pass on my knowledge to them and help them fulfil their dreams of becoming international cricketers.”
Shahid Afridi: “I am a big advocate of investing in the future. If T20 cricket is a vehicle to promote and develop cricket, and identify young talent, then we need to create opportunities and come up with novel ideas to unearth hidden talent, and ensure their skills and performances are duly noticed and subsequently rewarded.
“Working as mentor of a side comprising teenagers will be a new experience for me. I am thoroughly excited and looking forward to playing my part in helping these energetic and skillful cricketers achieve the zenith of glory. I believe that flashing actually only happens at under 13 to 19, after that it’s amiably man management.
“I have no doubts with the abundance of talent we have, this tournament will be able to identify, at least, half a dozen cricketers who can be nurtured and developed into star cricketers, who can then go on to shoulder the expectations and hopes of millions of cricket fans and followers.”
Shoaib Malik: “I feel privileged and honoured to have been awarded with the opportunity to work as a mentor with one of the Pakistan Junior League sides. As someone who is actually a product of age-group cricket when I first played in the 1998 U19 World Cup, I can vouch for the importance and significance of this tournament.
“I think the Pakistan Junior League fits very nicely in the PCB domestic cricket calendar as have 50-over and three-day cricket for the teenage cricketers. T20 cricket, which is nowadays the most popular and attractive format, will not only complete the calendar but will potentially produce three-dimensional players who can demonstrate their potential and talent to accept and adopt to the shortest format.
“Franchise cricket always tests players to the limits and, in this background, it is even better that the skills of the players will be fully challenged, fast-tracking the very best in their careers. I believe Pakistan Junior League will prove to the cornerstone of our endeavours to once again become a force to be reckoned with across all formats.”
The Pakistan Junior League will be played on single-league basis with the top-four sides progressing to the play-offs. The top-two sides will play in the Qualifier with the winner qualifying for the final. The losing side will get a second chance to progress to the final when it will play against the winner of Eliminator 1 between the number-three and four ranked sides.