Lahore Qalandars is a Pakistani cricket franchise which participates in the Pakistan Super League. The team prominently represents the people and the spirit of Lahore which is a major metropolitan city in Pakistan.
The franchise is owned by Fawad Rana the owner of the Qatar Lubricants Company Limited otherwise known as QALCO. In 2015 The Pakistan Cricket Board(PCB) announced the inaugural season of the Pakistan Super League. On 3 December 2015, the owners of the five franchises were announced where Lahore Qalandars was sold for 25.1 million USD to QALCO making it the second most expensive team in the Superleague after Karachi Kings.
On the 12th of December 2015, the team was officially formed and set to compete in the league. The name Qalandar was adopted to uphold the esteemed Sufi culture that resides in Lahore. Qalandar was also a term that had been used to describe Sufi mystics and saints that attract millions of tourists.
According to the rich Lahore tradition, Sufis have performed the famous Sufi whirling for many generations. This has been incorporated into the team’s logo to praise the Sufi culture.
Due to its wealthy owners, the Qalandars had various sponsors such as Mobilink, Geo Tv and Royal Palm.
They adopted a black and Red combination for their main jersey kit which later became black and Green which proved to be a fan favourite.
Any sporting franchise is identified by their team anthem. Asrar and Nabeel Shaukat Ali released two versions of “Dama Dam Mast” in 2016. In 2017” Dama Dam Mast Lahore Qalandars” sung by Shafqat Amanat Ali had become the official anthem. Shaan Shahid became the team’s brand ambassador in the 2017 season.
- Umar Akmal was declared the best batsman of the Pakistan Super League 2016 when he scored an astounding 335 runs in just 7 matches.
- The qalandars also won the tournament's Spirit of Cricket award
- The team scored 201 runs from 20 overs in a league game making them the second highest run scorers in the inaugural season.
- They also had the best run rate in the 2016 tournament.
- They participated in the Abu Dhabi trophy in 2018 and won it by beating the South African franchise called the TITANS.
- They have managed to qualify for the group stages in all the three seasons.
Numerous talented and seasoned players have been a part of the Dama Dam Mast over the past four years.
The inaugural season started off with a bang for the Qalandars as they auctioned cricketing superstars such as Chris Gayle, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo and Yasir Shah in the initial player draft. Though team on paper was splendid the Qalandars were unable to pull their weight in the tournament as they ended up losing 6 of their 8 group stage matches.
Umar Akmal won the Best Batsman award by scoring 335 runs with the help of his four fantastic half centuries. Chris Gayle also put up a stellar performance and was their iconic player in the first season. The team was captained by Azhar Ali and Dwayne Bravo throughout the season.
In the 2017 season, the Team made a major change in their team sheets trading their icon Chris Gayle for Sohail Tanvir of Karachi Kings and Aamer Yamin of Peshawar Zalmi. At the end of 2016, the team also drafted Brendon McCullum as the new captain of the Qalandars.
They also bought renowned bowlers such as Shaun Tait and Sunil Narine. Narine created a record of 20 wickets in 17 matches in the PSL Jason Roy and James Franklin were also important additions to the team. Brendon McCullum captained the 2017 side.
In the Inaugural season, the Lahorians started the tournament with two consecutive losses which until they broke their losing streak by defeating Quetta Gladiators and clinching their first win. They lost six of their eight group games and failing to qualify to the playoffs. They finished last on the table. Other than the losses they were able to clinch the ‘Spirit of the Game’ award and the ‘Fair Play’ award.
Lahore Qalandars lost to Quetta Gladiators after being unable to chase 137 runs in their opening game of the season but they bounced back by beating the defending champions Islamabad United. Then they crashed out at an overall score of 59 inside 11 overs. Though Yashir Shah took 4 wickets for 7 runs the Qalandars still lost. As the tournament moved from Sharjah to Dubai the team had consecutive losses to Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi leading them to the bottom of the table and failing to win a place in the playoffs for the second consecutive time in the PCL.
The 2018 season also began in a downhill ride for the Qalandars. They lost their first three matches against Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings in that order. They went on to lose to the Zalmis and hence putting an end to their hopes of reserving a berth in the playoffs for the third consecutive year.
The Qalandars are the most popular team in the Pakistan Super League. They have around 500k followers on Twitter and more than half a million followers on Facebook. They have also had massive followers due to their association with many celebrities such as Shaan.