Pakistan Super League 2022: Grassroots Cricket Team of the Tournament

Lahore Qalandars clinched their maiden PSL title win, ensuring that all franchises have won the PSL at least once.

Lahore Qalandars finally ended their PSL trophy drought as Shaheen Afridi lifted silverware in his maiden season as captain. Fortunately, unlike the last two seasons, this edition did not have to be suspended midway through the tournament, although international duties, bubble fatigue, and injuries still gave unexpected opportunities for players to make a name for themselves. So, here goes – this is Grassroots Cricket’s team of the tournament.

1. Mohammad Rizwan (wk)

The Multan Sultans captain carried over his incredible form from 2021 to this year’s edition of the PSL. He amassed 546 runs, behind only Fakhar Zaman with an unbelievable average of 68.3! His strike rate of 126.7 was a bit on the lower side, but more often than not, his plan of starting laying a foundation for his team before they accelerated worked in favor of Rizwan and the Multan Sultans, although he missed out in the final. He had the joint-most dismissals among all wicket-keepers in the tournament; both Rizwan and Azam Khan recorded nine dismissals.

2.    Jason Roy

Shout-out to Shan Masood, but the England opener gets the nod due to his superior strike rate of 170.2, compared to Masood’s strike rate of 138.15. Roy had a short but sweet stay in the PSL, but despite only playing six innings, he was the 8th leading run-scorer overall and the 2nd leading-run scorer among foreign players, only behind Alex Hales. He played a part in two successful huge chases – scoring a magnificent century against one of the greatest bowling lineups in franchise cricket against Lahore Qalandars before getting Quetta Gladiators off to a flier in a thrilling victory over Islamabad United. Neutrals will rue the fact Quetta’s elimination meant he only managed to play a handful of games.

3. Fakhar Zaman

Everyone is aware of what Fakhar Zaman can do on his day; just ask the Indian team at the hands of his match-winning century in the Champions Trophy Final, or perhaps the South African team that bore the brunt of one of the greatest ODI innings of all time in the Pink Day ODI last year. The left-hander started the tournament with a 35-ball 76 in a thrilling loss against Multan Sultans. He registered his first-ever PSL century in a successful chase against arch-rivals Karachi Kings the next day. Despite missing out with the bat in the last two games, Zaman finished as the leading run-scorer, amassing 588 runs, the all-time record for the highest amount of runs in a single edition of the PSL! His role in the field can’t go unnoticed either, taking a couple of very good catches in the final, as well as the direct hit to send back Shan Masood.

Putting him at number 3 in this lineup was a very tough decision as the left-hander struck at 150+ in Powerplays. However, he scored the bulk of his runs in the middle overs, rotating the strike with ridiculous ease (less than 17% dot balls), running hard between the wickets, and hitting a lot of maximums. The three sixes to Imran Tahir in the Qualifier stood out. Thus, he is the best suited of the top 3 for this role.

4. Shadab Khan

Despite missing a few games of the Lahore leg due to an injury, Shadab still finished as the 2nd  leading wicket-taker of the tournament. He could seemingly do no wrong, particularly in the Karachi leg. His bowling has been on an upward spiral since the T20 World Cup, and the Islamabad United skipper was taking wickets for fun while the rest of his teammates struggled with the ball in hand. We don’t need to say much about his fielding, and his batting was equally effective. He batted up the order, reminiscent of his PSL 5 antics, and the move was well justified, as he scored 268 runs in 8 innings with a superb strike rate of 162.4. Despite the loss, his highest T20 score of 91 against Multan Sultans in a massive chase is undoubtedly one of the greatest PSL knocks of all time. The right-hander struck at 150 against spin and bossed the middle overs with both bat and ball; it boggles the mind how he didn’t win the Player of the Tournament award for his displays.

5. Tim David

Lahore Qalandars were unable to retain the Singapore-born batter because he was a replacement player last year, and Multan Sultans fans definitely weren’t complaining about this. The tall-right hander had a devastating impact in the middle order. The highlight of his season came when he blasted 71 off just 29 balls against Islamabad United in a destructive partnership with Rilee Rossouw to help Multan Sultans post a huge total of 217/5. He ended the tournament with 278 runs at a remarkable strike rate of 194.4! Yes, you read that correctly! He was an absolute beast in the middle overs, striking at a scarcely believable 190 (the next best was Shadab Khan, 159). To date, he has played 14 T20Is for the country of his birth, but one would think it is only a matter of time before he wears an Australia shirt.

P.S. Did you know we chatted with Tim David during the PSL? Check out our exclusive interview with him here.

6. Harry Brook

Time after time, Brook was able to get runs under pressure when Lahore Qalandars were at risk of collapsing. His PSL debut saw him resuscitate a Lahore Qalandars innings, which was losing all momentum, with 37 off 26 in a game that Lahore eventually won by just 8 runs. He scored 41* in just 22 balls in the final to lift the Qalandars to what proved to be a match-winning total, but, without a doubt, the highlight of his tournament came in the match against Islamabad United in the Lahore leg. At 12-3 against a side missing several of its key players, opposition fans were quick to mock ‘The Lahore of Old’ until Brook, just three days before his 23rd birthday, scored a glorious century. The youngster finished on 102* off just 49 balls, becoming the youngest ever batter to reach triple figures in a PSL match to help his team finish on 197-6, a total that seemed impossible when he had entered the crease. The young English batter is a smart and efficient batsman at the death and should go on to become a crucial cog of England’s white-ball sides in the future.

7. Khushdil Shah

The left-hander started the tournament with an epic 18* off just 4 balls as he ripped apart Lahore Qalandars speedster Haris Rauf in the final over to seal a thrilling chase, and there was no looking back, following this spectacular effort! What was noticeable about this match-winning effort was all four boundaries were on the off-side, with Khushdil having regularly been labeled as a leg-side player. He consistently scored quick runs throughout the tournament, but his performances with the ball caught us all by surprise. His figures of 3/16 and 4/35 played a huge part in nail-biting victories against Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United, respectively, and his all-round efforts in the PSL may have earned him a spot in the Pakistan XI going forward. It was also heartening to see how he displayed the ability to hit the ball from ball one (something that he’s struggled with in the past), striking at 183 in his first ten balls.

8. Rashid Khan

The Afghan sensation has made no secret of his love for Lahore Qalandars, and the guard of honor he received from his teammates in his final match shows just how respected he is by the franchise. He was miserly with the ball, conceding a fraction over a run a ball, and took wickets at regular intervals. He played a big part in Lahore Qalandars’ impressive victory over Multan Sultans in the group stage as he removed two of the in-form batters in consecutive balls, dismissing Mohammad Rizwan before trapping Rilee Rossouw in front of the stumps for a golden duck! It speaks volumes of his quality that Lahore Qalandars made every effort to fly him over from Bangladesh for the all-important final, but without his services, they still managed to lift their maiden title. He also had got the better of Babar Azam on both occasions that the rivals faced each other.

9. Shaheen Afridi

Lahore Qalandars’ decision to appoint Shaheen Afridi as captain before the tournament began raised a few eyebrows. He had no major experience of captaining a side, and perhaps the added responsibility of being a captain may have had adverse effects on his bowling – he is just 21 years old, after all. No chance. He finished as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament, and fittingly, it was his two wickets in his penultimate over that all but sealed the title for Lahore Qalandars, removing the danger man Tim David three balls before cleaning up David Willey with a pinpoint yorker. He was at his usual best in the Powerplays, picking up half of his wickets in that phase.

From a captaincy point of view, his tactics were impressive, and he got plenty of help from the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and David Wiese. A striking feature of his captaincy was how aggressive he was, focusing on attacking opposition teams by using Rashid Khan in the first half of the innings. In contrast, other teams usually utilize his defensive skills in the second half of innings. Emerging player Zaman Khan was full of praise for his captain, stating, “Shaheen Bhai always supported me like a younger brother.” So just to summarise, 21-year-old Shaheen Afridi was the leading wicket-taker as well as the tournament-winning captain. In his first season as captain. He’s also the ICC Cricketer of the Year. Pakistan cricket, you have a star on your hands.

10. Naseem Shah

After an unbelievable start to his career, it wasn’t long before things started going downhill for Naseem Shah. Injuries, COVID-protocol violations, and losing his PCB central contract led to a difficult year for the youngster, the type that can easily break players. But a successful title-winning stint with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in the CPL may have put him back on the right path, and Naseem is looking a much-improved bowler from the one we saw the last time he put on a Pakistan shirt. He registered the best bowling figures of the tournament when he picked up 5/20 in a huge victory over Karachi Kings and finished the tournament with 14 wickets, more than double the amount of any other Quetta Gladiators bowler (Mohammad Nawaz and James Faulkner picked up six wickets each). His over against Peshawar Zalmi, in which he removed the dangerous duo of Hazratullah Zazai and Liam Livingstone for 1 and 0, respectively, had fans licking their lips at the thought of Naseem Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi sharing the new ball at the T20 World Cup. He was impressive with the new ball and also at the death.

11. Zaman Khan

Last year it was Shahnawaz Dahani, this year it was Zaman Khan! Pakistan continue to churn out extremely talented fast bowlers, and the pace-bowler was the stand-out among all emerging players in this tournament. In a bowling lineup consisting of Rashid Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Haris Rauf, it is easy for him to go under the radar but, often fazed with bowling in tight situations, the 20-year-old showed nerves of steel. He was named Player of the Match as he successfully defended just 12 runs in the final over bowling to the dangerous duo of Asif Ali and Azam Khan, not giving away a single boundary. He maintained control and was the only pacer to bowl a maiden in this year’s PSL, not once but twice. While he may not have the height associated with most successful pace bowlers, he has a unique action, and nothing is stopping him from having a long and successful career!

12. David Wiese

The former South African and current Namibian international is undoubtedly a PSL legend. He played a crucial role in Lahore Qalandars’ maiden title win. In the final two knockout games, Lahore were somewhat on the backfoot at the death before the all-rounder smashed 28* off 8 in both games to finish the innings on a high and gift his side the momentum. When needed, he also bowled some crucial overs, fittingly picking up the final wicket as the Qalandars clinched their title win.

Honorable Mentions

  • Shan Masood – 478 runs @ 40/138
  • Shoaib Malik – 401 runs @ 45/137
  • Alex Hales – 355 runs @ 44/147
  • Rilee Rossouw – 275 runs @ 39/168
  • Faheem Ashraf – 121 runs @ 30/178 & 9 wickets @ 32/8.4
  • Imran Tahir – 16 wickets @ 19/6.5
  • Salman Irshad – 15 wickets @ 18/8.3
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