GeneralPSL 9: Peshawar Zalmi Preview

PSL 9: Peshawar Zalmi Preview

PSL 9: Peshawar Zalmi Preview


Peshawar Zalmi go into PSL 9 with a fairly stable structure – in both their team and management. They continue to do decently in the PSL, remaining the only side to have never been eliminated in the group stage. At the same time, all the other teams have won a PSL title since Zalmi were last victorious (their one and only title win came in PSL 2). Daren Sammy (head coach) and Mohammad Akram (director of cricket) will continue in their respective roles, while Babar Azam will captain the side again. Once again, Zalmi don’t have a ground they can call their own – they will play 4 of their first 5 games in Lahore (1 in Multan) before moving to their adopted home, Rawalpindi, for 4 games. They then move to Karachi for their final match and potentially the playoffs.



  • Babar Azam
  • Saim Ayub
  • Asif Ali
  • Mohammad Haris
  • Aamir Jamal
  • Khurram Shehzad
  • Salman Irshad
  • Arif Yaqoob
  • Umair Afridi
  • Arshad Iqbal


  • Rovman Powell
  • Gus Atkinson
  • Tom Kohler-Cadmore
  • Naveen-ul-Haq
  • Dan Mousley
  • Waqar Salamkheil
  • Luke Wood
  • Shamar Joseph
  • Paul Walter


  • Haseebullah Khan
  • Mohammad Zeeshan
  • Mehran Mumtaz
  • Aimal Khan


Peshawar Zalmi have retained their strong local core in the top order, with Babar Azam, Saim Ayub, and Mohammad Haris the primary options for the top 3 slots. They have also retained Haseebullah Khan, who will likely be a backup option for batting and keeping, while Tom Kohler-Cadmore is another option to bat in the top 3.

In the middle order, Zalmi also have some familiar faces. Kohler-Cadmore will likely lead the way at number 4 with Rovman Powell to follow at number 5. Asif Ali, a recruit from the draft, will also be available for middle-order duties, while Haseebullah Khan is another option. Paul Walter, a late addition, is a batting all-rounder who usually bats at around number 5. English all-rounder Dan Mousley rounds up their primary options with the bat.

Zalmi’s fast-bowling attack last year wasn’t particularly successful, and they’ve attempted to resolve that by drafting a mini-army of fast-bowlers. Their local pacers include Khurram Shehzad, who is recovering from an injury – Arshad Iqbal (who was also recently completing his rehab after an injury) will cover for him. Aamir Jamal and Salman Irshad return, while they also opted for left-arm seamer Umair Afridi after he impressed in 4 National T20 games. Mohammad Zeeshan and Aimal Khan (partial replacement for Naveen-ul-Haq) are the emerging pacer options. Their overseas pacers include Luke Wood (availability unclear as he is playing in the BPL), Gus Atkinson (likely unavailable till the playoffs due to national commitments), Naveen-ul-Haq (partial availability), and Shamar Joseph, who is likely to be fully available.

Among their spin-bowling options is Afghan left-arm wrist spinner Waqar Salamkheil, who was drafted in after first-choice Noor Ahmed pulled out. Arif Yaqoob (leg spin) and Mehran Mumtaz (left-arm orthodox spin) round up the rest of the spin-bowling options. Mousley bowls off spin with the occasional faster-ball variation. Saim may also roll his arm over for some part-time off spin.


Peshawar’s strong local top order is likely to earn some envious glances from other PSL sides. Saim offers a left-hand option up top and will hope to stake a strong claim for T20 World Cup selection, while the explosive Haris will look to do the same to get back into the picture for the national side. Babar offers a calm head and will anchor the innings alongside the two dynamos.

With Kohler-Cadmore and Powell handling the engine room, Zalmi’s middle order also looks reasonably strong. Kohler-Cadmore excelled last season in the number 4 role, effectively taking on spin. Powell has an excellent record at number 5, while Haseebullah could also play a role in the middle. However, he is likely to be usurped by Asif Ali, at least to start the tournament – and if he fires, Zalmi’s entire batting looks very good indeed, with every batsman offering quality specific to their role.

Alongside their batting, Peshawar have a wealth of bowling options at their disposal, including almost every bowling type. Wood and Afridi offer left-arm pace, there are a host of right-arm pacers, and their spin attack also includes several options. They have the luxury of trying various combinations.


Although Zalmi’s main batting lineup is undeniably strong, they have little backup and batting depth, with just six specialist batsmen in the squad, alongside the emerging Haseebullah and Englishmen Mousley and Walter (a late signing on the eve of the tournament). Should any of their top 6 misfire or suffer injury, they don’t quite have the level of quality backup that you would expect to see in such a large squad. Additionally, Jamal is likely to have to shoulder the burden of batting at number 7, and there is no backup option for him in the squad, with Walter more of a batting all-rounder rather than someone who can bowl 4 overs every game. The lack of batting depth means early wickets could leave them in trouble.

Simultaneously, despite the plethora of bowling options, Peshawar still lack proper T20 quality in much of their bowling attack. They don’t quite have a proper leader of the attack who offers dependable T20 quality in all phases. Wood is a good powerplay option, while Irshad has done well at the death in recent times, but it remains to be seen how Zalmi collectively rise to the challenge, particularly with the inexperienced local bowlers. Of their 9 local bowling options, only two (Arshad and Irshad) have played 50+ games, while as many as 5 have played less than 20 games apiece.

Team Composition

Possible Starting XI

  • Saim Ayub
  • Babar Azam 🧢
  • Mohammad Haris 🧤
  • Tom Kohler-Cadmore ✈️
  • Rovman Powell ✈️
  • Asif Ali
  • Aamir Jamal
  • Mohammad Zeeshan 🧒🏽
  • Luke Wood ✈️
  • Waqar Salamkheil ✈️
  • Salman Irshad

The biggest problem Zalmi are likely to face is figuring out the composition of the bowling attack, particularly considering the injury struggles of some local bowlers and the potential availability issues of their overseas options. They could opt to play an emerging spinner in Mehran rather than the overseas Salamkheil and play another foreign pacer. If they opt for an emerging pacer, the roles they require may determine which of Zeeshan or Aimal get the nod. Aimal has bowled with the new ball occasionally, while Zeeshan generally looks more comfortable with an older ball. Alternatively, they could once again play Haseebullah in the middle order, thereby fulfilling the emerging quota while also adding another LHB in the middle.

As mentioned earlier, the lack of flexibility outside the bowling could be a concern if any of the top 7 fail to fire or suffer an injury. Haseebullah offers a local backup LHB option, while Mousley offers cover at number 5-6 and another all-round option with his spin and variety – Walter does the same but as a pace alternative. However, whether he would be able to take up the responsibility of a front-liner in a 5-man attack on Pakistani pitches is questionable, especially considering that Peshawar don’t have a dependable 6th bowling option besides the occasional spin/medium pace offered by Saim/Powell. It’s also unclear if players participating in the ILT20 final will be available for Zalmi’s first game (the day after the final). If not, Powell, Mousley, and Salamkheil may all be unavailable.

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