GeneralPSL 9: Karachi Kings Preview

PSL 9: Karachi Kings Preview


If one franchise has done a hard reset since the last season, it is Karachi Kings. After two poor seasons where they amassed just 4 wins in 20 games, being eliminated in the group stage, they have opted to take a different route. Driving much of the change has been Haider Azhar (team director and head of strategy), with the franchise’s coaching staff consisting of West Indian Phil Simmons, accompanied by the likes of Ravi Bopara and Mohammad Masroor. The Kings opted for Shan Masood as captain and built a squad with a mixture of experience and youth as they look to get out of their recent rut with an eye on the future. They begin the tournament in Multan before moving to Lahore for 2 games. Then, 6 off their 7 last matches are at home in Karachi, with one in Rawalpindi in between.



  • Mohammad Nawaz
  • Hassan Ali
  • Shan Masood
  • Shoaib Malik
  • Mir Hamza
  • Mohammad Akhlaq
  • Mohammad Amir Khan
  • Anwar Ali
  • Arafat Minhas
  • Zahid Mahmood
  • Fawad Ali


  • Kieron Pollard
  • Daniel Sams
  • James Vince
  • Tim Seifert
  • Tabraiz Shamsi
  • Leus du Plooy
  • Blessing Muzarabani


  • Irfan Khan Niazi
  • Sirajuddin
  • Saad Baig
  • Mohammad Rohid


Karachi have a number of options for their top order. James Vince returns, as does Mohammad Akhlaq, also offering a wicket-keeping option. They have also recruited Tim Seifert, although he’s set to miss the first few games due to national duty. Shan Masood, obtained in a trade with Multan, will captain the side. The Kings also have the option of utilizing Leus du Plooy at the top, with the left-hander having found success recently in the SA20 and ILT20. Pakistan U19 captain Saad Baig rounds up their top-order options.

In their middle order, the Kings have a couple of experienced heads: Shoaib Malik returns, while Kieron Pollard has also been recruited by his former franchise (likely to be available for the group stage only). The aforementioned du Plooy could also feature in the middle order at number 4-5, where he has excelled for Derbyshire. The youthful options are Irfan Khan Niazi, fresh from an excellent domestic season, and Arafat Minhas, coming off a decent U19 World Cup campaign. Mohammad Nawaz, Daniel Sams, and Anwar Ali are other possibilities for the middle and lower-middle order.

In their fast-bowling attack, Karachi Kings have recruited Hassan Ali after a trade with Islamabad, and Mir Hamza is the other local experienced pacer in the squad. Mohammad Amir Khan, Mohammad Rohid, and Sirajuddin complete their local quota of pacers, with the last two both also emerging players. Daniel Sams and Anwar Ali will be the pace all-rounder options. The Kings suffered a last-minute blow, with Surrey withdrawing their NOC for Jamie Overton, who would have provided another pace all-round option. As a replacement, they have signed Blessing Muzarabani. Fawad Ali, a left-arm pacer from KP who has recently been playing in Oman, has been drafted in as a partial replacement for Seifert.

The primary of Karachi’s spin-bowling options is Tabraiz Shamsi, who returns for another season at the franchise – however, CSA regulations mean that he will only be available for the first 6 games. Zahid Mahmood offers another wrist-spin option for the Kings (partial replacement), while Mohammad Nawaz and Arafat Minhas are the left-arm orthodox bowling options in the team. Shoaib Malik will handle off spin duties.


The most striking feature of the Karachi Kings squad is their flexibility and backup plans. They have 3 overseas options (Vince, Seifert, du Plooy) and 3 local options (Shan, Akhlaq, Saad) for the top order, including a foreign and local wicket-keeper and an emerging player. With du Plooy also able to bat in the middle, alongside Malik, Pollard, Niazi (emerging), Arafat, and Nawaz – who may bat higher up the order this season – Karachi have no shortage of choices. Sams and Anwar offer an overseas and local option to balance the side as needed. Shamsi and Zahid are another foreign/local duo for wrist spin. They then have a right and left-arm pace option in the emerging category. The late signing of Muzarabani ensures they have a front-line overseas pace option, too.

If their batsmen are in form, Karachi have quite a decent batting lineup, especially considering they plan only one match in Pindi. Vince was very impressive in his short stint for the Kings last year, Akhlaq and Niazi come into the tournament on the back of some excellent form in the domestic season, Shan can anchor the innings, du Plooy has been very impressive in various roles recently, and Malik and Pollard offer a wealth of experience. If Sams can provide the finishing touches and impress with the bat, Karachi have the ingredients to do well as a batting unit.

With as many as 6 young players under the age of 23 in their squad, Karachi have some promising prospects on their hands for this season and the future. Pacer Amir has been particularly impressive with his powerplay bowling in this domestic season, Arafat continues to impress with both bat and ball, and Sirajuddin has also had a good domestic season. Young left-arm pacer Rohid has done decently, showing some skill while playing in the ILT20, while Niazi will be eager to carry over his excellent form from the recent season. Saad is also a promising wicket-keeper batsman and future prospect. With the wealth of experience in and around the squad, youngsters should be able to benefit.


Karachi Kings’ local pacers will be under pressure to lead the attack and fire, although the late signing of Muzarabani should relieve some of the pressure. The Hassan Ali of 2017 or 2019 would have been a brilliant attack leader for Karachi, but with his drop in pace, he has some natural limitations. He will hope to use all of his smarts to lead the Kings with the ball after a decent season last year with United. Mir Hamza performed well for Karachi last year and will be expected to step up again, particularly with the new ball.

A concern for the Kings could be batting depth, with Sams the primary all-round option in the squad but not having a good time with the bat of late. He has struggled with the bat in the last couple of months since the BBL, although he had 3 stellar years before that with his lower-order hitting (20 avg, 165 SR). This becomes more of a concern with Karachi’s front-line bowlers not being particularly adept with the bat. They could consider offsetting this if it becomes a problem by packing the side with more all-rounders and sacrificing a specialist bowler.

Team Composition

Possible Starting XI

  • James Vince ✈️
  • Mohammad Akhlaq 🧤
  • Shan Masood 🧢
  • Shoaib Malik
  • Mohammad Nawaz
  • Kieron Pollard ✈️
  • Daniel Sams ✈️
  • Hassan Ali
  • Mir Hamza
  • Tabraiz Shamsi ✈️
  • Sirajuddin 🧒🏽

With so many changes to their squad since last season, it’s tough to predict how exactly the Kings will line up. Despite having squad depth and various options, their strongest XI doesn’t quite have the star power of some of the other sides. They will hope to play smartly and be greater than the sum of their parts. Player availability may also cause some issues for them. Seifert’s unavailability at the start, along with Pollard and Shamsi departing for the business end of the tournament, can throw a spanner in the works.

As mentioned earlier, though, Karachi have no shortage of options in terms of lineup construction. They could consider playing an extra batsman in Lahore, where Nawaz has fared well with the ball and can potentially be relied on to bowl his full quota of overs. Sams will be important due to his death bowling, but if he has a tough time, Karachi could play Anwar and opt for another overseas player – or play both Sams and Anwar to make the batting deeper. They could also put their faith in Niazi as the emerging player to forego the need for an emerging pacer – or indeed play 2 emerging players.

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