PSL 2021 New Players

An XI of “New” Players for PSL 2021

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It’s that time of year again. The time to get hyped about the tadpoles swimming around in the murky waters, which is Pakistan’s domestic system, hoping they are pulled to the surface and into the public consciousness. The time to call them the best in the world or “frauds” will come later; first, they have to be picked. All that time and energy discussing the potential places the player could fill in the national XI, only for the PSL team to pick some domestic stalwart. How rude, it’s like all they want to do is win the PSL title; what about developing young talent? Young talent that the PSL’s retention policy doesn’t guarantee they will be allowed to keep.

An XI has been compiled, featuring the tadpoles, froglets, and domestic stalwarts (yeah, calling them frogs seemed wrong). Without further ado:

Zeeshan Malik – Opener

T20 numbers: 515 run @ Avg. 30.29 & SR 123.8

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 305 runs @ 33.88 & SR 136.8 (ninth-highest run-scorer)
  • Balls per boundary (BPB): 5.3
  • Starting-Set SRs: 124-144 (Starting SR: First ten balls)

Captain of Pakistan in the 2016 U19 WC, Zeeshan truly burst onto the public stage when he combined with fellow young pyro, Haider Ali, to take down Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s much-vaunted (and eventually, tournament-winning) attack. He scored 77 off 47 balls with the assistance of 8 fours and 3 sixes, and he didn’t let up after that. Unfortunately, the rotation policy set in by Northern meant that he wouldn’t climb higher on the highest run-getters list.

Teams eyeing him will probably be those without a settled opening combination, so that could be Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators, and Multan Sultans. However, don’t rule out Peshawar Zalmi deciding to pair him up with Haider once again. His recent fifty against Northern Districts for the Shaheens in New Zealand has ensured he remains in the spotlight; it would be a shock if no teams picked him this season.

Mohammad Haris – Opener/Potential #5-6/Wicketkeeper

U19 ODI: 531 runs @ 53.10 & SR 108.6
U19 WC 2020: 131 runs @ 65.50 & SR 123.6 (Highest Runscorer for Pak U19)

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 85 runs @ 42.50 & SR 104.5
  • BPB: 8.1
  • Starting-Set SR: 130-110

Wicket-keepers are a precious commodity in Pakistan cricket currently, especially those that can bat with intent and the power to back it up. Mohammad Haris may not yet have the power part of the equation, but if his U19 numbers are any indication, the intent is not a problem for him. Unsurprisingly, his childhood idol is Jos Buttler. His ability to manufacture shots like his idol has impressed one and all, but he may still need to unlock his offside game further. However, quite a few PSL teams are on the lookout for wicket-keepers, as they are for an opener. Teams could give him the license to go out when the fielding restrictions are in place and just smack it over the infield, which virtually guarantees a boundary. That sorts your opening, wicket keeping, and emerging player spots all in one go, an offer hard to resist.

Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, and Lahore Qalandars would all be interested as they all lack dependable local keepers. Karachi and Lahore have more or less settled opening combinations, so that may mean Haris will have to drop down and prove his mettle in the death overs. He may not be ready for that yet, but he could surprise us.

Mubasir Khan – All-Rounder

U19 One Days: 332 runs @ 36.89 – 26 wickets @ 12.42
U19 Three-Days: 234 runs @ 33.43 – 26 wickets @ 19.38
2nd XI Three-Days: 158 runs @ 39.50 – 11 wickets @ 19.45
QeA Trophy First XI: 290 runs @ 72.50 – 2 wickets @ 117.50

Mubasir Khan performed in U19s and found himself promoted to play with the big boys in Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2nd XI; he then proceeded to boss them around enough to again get promoted to play the top level of Pakistan’s premier First Class competition at the tender age of 18. Instead of getting overwhelmed or even jetlagged from all that moving around, he then walked in with his team in trouble at 110-4 and rattled off a 164 off 241 balls.

A cagey off-spinner who bowls mostly wicket to wicket is well suited to limited-overs cricket. He seems unruffled by most lengths fast bowlers throw at him with an authoritative pull to boot. He doesn’t allow the spinners to settle and often uses his feet. But ultimately, teams have to remember that he’s only 18 years old, and it may be too much to ask of him to bat in the middle order in T20s. He will be better suited to batting in the top 3, but obviously, team balance takes precedence over where the youngster is comfortable batting. His bowling may be enough to earn him a place in the team; his batting may have to wait a season or two.

Mohammad Akhlaq – The Surprise Pick

T20 numbers: 160 runs @ 26.67 & SR 131.1

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 80 runs @ 80.00 & SR 170.2
  • BPB: 4.27
  • Starting-Set SR: 170.0-170.4

He’s no spring chicken, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at his numbers. His starting and set SRs are extremely impressive, albeit with a very small sample size. A team man, he opened the batting for Central Punjab in the QeA Trophy and then took up the gloves when the keeper, Ali Shan, suffered an injury during the match. A useful squad player to have as you can think of him as your backup wicket-keeper, and while he’s more suited to the middle order in T20 cricket, he can easily open the batting too. Teams usually look out for utility players like him, so expect him to be a last-minute silver or supplementary round pick.

Hasan Mohsin – All Rounder / Lower Middle Order Batsman (#5-6)

U19 ODIs: 435 runs @ 48.33 & SR 89.7 – 20 wickets @ 16.35
U19 WC 2016: 293 runs @ 97.67 & SR 96.1 – 11 wickets @ 14.81 (Highest run-scorer and wicket-taker for Pak U19)

NT20 2nd XI 2020/21:

  • 113 runs @ 113.00 & SR 161.4 (ninth-highest run-scorer)
  • 1 wicket @ 52.00 & Econ. 8.66
  • BPB: 4.12

Pakistan has been searching for a fast-bowling all-rounder since the decline of Abdul Razzaq. To say Hasan is the answer is putting too much pressure on his young shoulders. Like Haris, he is capable of manufacturing shots and has a wide array of dabs and scoops. His bowling is clearly his weaker trait with not enough pace to avoid getting slaughtered in T20 cricket. Teams should see him as a batsman who can chip in with an over or two, with his batting certainly good enough to earn him a place in a squad if not an XI.

Danish Aziz – Middle Order Batsman (No.4-6)

T20 numbers: 418 runs @ 41.8 & SR 138.4

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 220 runs @ 73.33 & SR 154.9
  • BPB: 4.90
  • Starting-Set SR: 110.0-180.3

Danish has already written his name in folklore with his incredible recovery of Sindh’s chase of 139 after they were reduced to 34-7. But if that were all he was to achieve, it would be a disappointment. It takes serious mental fortitude, not to mention ability, to rescue a chase like that. Very few players are blessed with such calmness at the crease and even fewer Pakistanis. He possesses the ability to hit the ball to all areas of the ground and can chip in one or two overs of nagging slow left-arm spin. His slow starting SR is heavily influenced by one innings, remove that innings, and it jumps back to 135, which was above average for the NT20 Cup, while his Set SR indicates how explosive he can be. All teams will have their eyes on him.

Musadiq Ahmed – Lower Middle Order Batsman (No. 6-7)

T20 numbers: 290 runs @ 19.3 & SR 157.6

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 84 runs @ 28.00 & SR 204.9
  • BPB: 3.15
  • Starting-Set SR: 203.0-242.9

A strong hitter in possession of a stable hitting base; when he hits them, they stay hit. Another utility player, he can chip in with one or two overs of medium pace, but like Mohsin, can’t be depended on regularly. He is a useful option for those sides with all-rounders batting up the order who bowl four overs, basically allowing the team to play an extra player. That means sides like Karachi, Islamabad, or even Quetta if they finally decide to start trusting Mohammad Nawaz’s batting. A proper T20 player who can get going from ball one and has the ability to give you those 10/20 extra runs that may be the difference between a win or a loss.

Ahmed Bashir – New Ball Fast Bowler

T20 numbers: 23 wickets @ 16.78 & Econ. 7.10

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 8 wickets
  • Avg. 14.75
  • Econ. 7.37
  • SR 12.0

An impressive swing and seam bowler, he will usually provide teams with that early powerplay wicket that is so crucial in a T20 match. Almost 70% of matches are won if three wickets are taken in the PowerPlay. Teams can utilize him according to conditions; if they feel the pitch will assist his style of bowling, they can bowl him for four overs right at the start. He will try to bowl wicket to wicket in the middle overs and not give much room, but he remains untested in the death overs. It’s unfortunate that he no longer qualifies for PSL’s emerging category as a team would have easily snapped him up. With the Karachi pitch assisting the fast bowlers this FC season, don’t put it past teams to pick him last minute in the supplementary round.

Shahnawaz Dhani – Middle Overs Fast Bowler

QeA Trophy 2nd XI: 17 wickets @ 14.94 & SR 32.0
QeA Trophy: 26 wickets @ 31.19 & SR 51.9

Shahnawaz is the fifth-highest wicket-taker among fast bowlers in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy behind Tabish Khan, Taj Wali, Waqas Maqsood, and Hasan Ali. However, all of the bowlers named have taken the new ball in the QeA. It’s impressive that Shahnawaz has managed to succeed with the old ball in a season where many fast bowlers have failed. He seems to have all the makings of an effective T20 middle overs bowler: pace, bounce, and the ability to hit a hard length. Most teams will have their eyes on him as they seem to prefer their emerging players to be bowlers. Still, those like Multan, Islamabad, and Karachi who don’t have middle over fast bowlers will be particularly interested in him.

Imran Khan Snr. – New Ball Fast Bowler

T20 numbers: 57 wickets @ 25.26 & Econ. 7.58

National T20 Cup 2020/21:

  • 7 wickets
  • Avg. 18.00
  • Econ. 6.63
  • SR 16.2

Despite decent T20 numbers, Imran Khan never really has got a fair go in the PSL, but this may just be his year. With the likes of Rahat Ali, Junaid Khan, and Mohammad Irfan suffering a loss of form, teams could look to him to provide experience and seam with the new ball.

Abrar Ahmed – Mystery Spinner

QeA Trophy 2nd XI: 57 wickets @ 11.75 & SR 24.1

Abrar Ahmed has been a part of the Karachi Kings squad, but unfortunately, he got injured after playing just two matches. The then Karachi and Pakistan coach, Mickey Arthur, rated him highly. However, he fell off the radar a bit until this year, where he started churning out barely believable numbers in QeA Trophy 2nd XI. While he may have struggled a bit on the step-up in FC cricket, there is enough there to indicate he will be an asset in T20 cricket.

Teams have squandered millions of dollars worldwide on bowlers that turn the ball both ways, and the response to Abrar will be no different.

The XI

  1. Zeeshan Malik
  2. Mohammad Haris (wk)
  3. Mubasir Khan
  4. Mohammad Akhlaq
  5. Hasan Mohsin
  6. Danish Aziz
  7. Musadiq Ahmed
  8. Ahmed Bashir
  9. Shahnawaz Dhani
  10. Imran Khan Snr
  11. Abrar Ahmed
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4 comments
Fahad ali
19 Mar, 2021

Shaolib maqsood.

Kamran
10 Jan, 2021

What about Muhammad Huraira?.

Muhammad Huraira
19 Jan, 2021

I am not T20 material. My ultimate aim is to play Test Cricket!.

Misbah's Dodgy Army
09 Jan, 2021

best article in the history of articles.