The Quetta Gladiators are a professional cricket team competing in the Pakistan Super League. Founded in 2015, this franchise has been one of the most consistent in the league, with a head-to-head record that is the envy of all of their rivals. They are one of the most promising teams in domestic T20 cricket and have signed some of the greats of the game.
The Quetta Gladiators were one of the founding franchises of the Pakistan Super League, a T20 league created by the Pakistan Cricket Board. These city-based franchises were sold to businessmen across the country for between $11 million and $26 million, with the Gladiators being the lowest priced one. It was purchased by Omar Associates, a company based in Karachi.
In their first season Gladiators signed some big name players, including England international Kevin Pietersen and New Zealander Grant Elliot. These two players led a team of skilled, ambitious and occasionally experienced Pakistan crickets to success after success. From the outset it looked like Gladiators had been one of the best franchise buys of the league, and that continued throughout the first season and beyond.
The Gladiators were flying during the first season of the PSL. They looked unstoppable and made it all of the way to the final, which was hosted in the United Arab Emirates due to the issues within Pakistan at the time. They went up against Islamabad United and many expected them to cruise to victory, but they were beaten by 6 wickets. They failed to show up on the day, prompting a public apology by their Icon Player Kevin Pietersen.
The Quetta Gladiators actually finished second in the league standings, behind Peshawar and ahead of Islamabad, but it was the latter who held their nerve to the bitter end. However, Gladiators continued their run of good form into 2017 and look set for a very bright future.
Whatever happens from here on out, one thing is clear: this was a bargain franchise. When you consider that the Gladiators cost less than half of what was paid for Lahore Qalandars, who finished rock bottom during the first season, this is a huge achievement for the owners and backroom staff.
Pakistani singer Fakir Mehmood is the ambassador for the Gladiators. The Karachi born performer was signed on for their first season, during which he sang the team’s theme song, “Chaa Jaye Quetta” with Faheem Allan Fakir. In the following season they hired another singer, Annie Khalid, to be their ambassador. They also have other notable names from the world of sport on their side, including Pakistani international footballer Kaleemullah Khan, and MMA fighter Ahmed Mujtaba, which is actually based locally.
For their first season, the Gladiators signed sponsorship deals with ACM Gold and Edrenrobe, before putting pen to paper on a contract with Jubilee Insurance for the second season. They are also aligned with a number of other sponsors, all of which have various roles. These include Master Oil and PTV Sports. This association with multiple sponsors and organizers is something that has been common in the PSL from the outset. It is something that fans don’t always look too fondly on, but something that serves to increase brand awareness, while generating more income for the club’s coffers.
Along with the regular backroom staff keeping the team in order, the Gladiators also have the legend that is Viv Richards on staff. The former West Indies international has a mentor role at the club, imparting his years of experience on the many young players that come through the club’s doors every season.
As well as Icon Player Kevin Pietersen, who has played a big role in shaping the franchise over their first seasons, the Gladiators have signed a number of other big players. They have also given a platform on which many promising young Pakistani players have excelled, as well as many notable foreigners.
Some of the biggest achievements by the Gladiators include the 86 runs hit by Englishman Luke Wright off just 53 balls against Islamabad United. Grant Elliot, the all-rounder, has also set the league alight, taking 15 wickets during his first 8 games with the club.
The team were captained by Sarfraz Ahmed during their first and second seasons. The right-handed batsman had previously spent a lot of time for Karachi based teams, as well as the national team, but he was given a new lease of life when he signed a contract with the Gladiators.
This combination of legendary players, exciting youngsters and showmanship cricket has made Gladiators one of the most exciting teams to watch in the league. They have typified the resilience of this league and are a great symbol of its passion, as well as a representation of just how big it could become.