Pakistan Super League is known for providing a platform to the emerging players annually and this time everyone needs to keep an eye on these players.
PSL 2021 is in full swing and fans and followers are gathered united and in groups supporting their favorite team. It’s not just divided into cities; it has taken the hearts of every Pakistani who has a soul and love for cricket.
Pakistan Super League is well known for providing a launching platform to the emerging players every year. Some of these budding players also get their major breakthroughs as they rub shoulders with top players, share the dressing room and watch them before their eyes scoring centuries and making strides!
Pakistan Super League has been a perfect platform to a number of players in the five editions before. Hasan Ali began his career as an emerging player for Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 2016 and garnered attention and love rapidly to become a world-known player, starring in Pakistan’s ICC Champions Trophy win after a year.
That same stage kick-started cricketing careers for Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Umar Khan, Arshad Iqbal, and Rohail Nazir to name a few.
The Pakistan Super League 6 might also see all six teams giving at least two emerging players each the platform and a pitch to fire on. Here is a brief introduction of all the emerging players.
All eyes on Qasim Akram this year with Karachi Kings. Qasim, just being 18 years old has already made waves at the domestic level, impressing expert and commentator Bazid Khan. Qasim is a solid middle-order batsman who can give impetus to the innings in the final overs. Qasim is a quality off-spinner and that feature of his game increases his utility as a player. Qasim was part of the Pakistan U19 squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2020. He managed just 93 runs in four innings, but his average of 46.50 was impressive. He also took three wickets with an economy of 3.57. Qasim graduated to first-class cricket last year and knocked 389 runs with three half-centuries and grabbed 13 wickets – prominently contributing in Central Punjab finishing as joint-winner of the Quaid Trophy.
“I am from the fertile land of Lahore and feel very lucky that I have been picked up by champions Karachi Kings,” stated Qasim. “I know this is my chance to make it big and I am all for that.”
The 19-year-old Mohammad Abbas Afridi was picked by Wasim Akram. And that can easily sum up his talent. “I was impressed with his action when I saw his video,” said Wasim of the right-arm fast bowler from FATA. Abbas rose to prominence when he was selected for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup last year. Abbas finished with nine wickets in five matches – most by a Pakistani bowler in the event.
The medium-fast bowler Mohammad Wasim Junior is filled with immense potential. He was part of the Pakistan U19 team that featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa last year. He picked up five wickets in Pakistan’s win over Scotland.
“I am super excited to be part of Islamabad United,” said Wasim. “I am picked on my performances at the domestic level, so I am ready to prove my talent.”
Ahmed Safi Abdullah is a left-arm spinner of prominent ability. Abdullah was associated with Islamabad United in last year’s HBL PSL as well. He took four wickets in three matches at a good economy of 8.12. Since then, he has lived up to his potential in the domestic season. He featured for joint-champions Central Punjab and scored 245 runs in 10 matches and, more importantly, fetched 34 wickets.
The ‘mystery spinner called by former Pakistani captain Rashid Latif Abrar Ahmed is a gem found by the Peshawar Zalmi. Peshawar Zalmi has picked up Abrar after his spectacular performance in the three-day Quaid-e-Azam Trophy last year. Abrar was outstanding, taking a whopping 57 wickets in six matches for the Sindh Second XI with eight five-wicket hauls and two 10-wicket hauls.
Mohammad Imran Randhawa is also a talented right-arm fast bowler who has speed and aggression to rattle the best batsmen and is another addition for Zalmi for this year’s PSL.
Lahore Qalandars stand out in rooting for talented players and then groomed them in their development program. Spinner Maaz Khan, who turns the ball and the match in his favor and gets wickets, is from Jamrud in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Lahore head coach Aqib Javed states that Maaz has the attitude of a fast bowler, has a good googly, a flipper, and can turn the new ball well too. He has also represented Qalandars in the T-10 league with success.
Zaid Alam’s story is pretty different. Being the son of a tea-staller, he used to help his father at the stall. The 17-year-old Zaid was a player of the streets. He started off with tape-ball cricket on the streets of Lahore and from there he was picked for Pakistan’s squad for the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in 2018 held in New Zealand and now is ready to take his chance in the PSL VI.
Right-arm fast bowler Mohammad Umar becomes Pakistan Super League’s fantastic opportunity for Multan Sultans. He is a fast bowler who played for Sindh in the domestic season, doing well with the white ball. Multan Sultans then picked Umar to give him a chance in the emerging category and he is keen to grab the opportunity with both hands and he is surely not going to drop this off anytime soon.
“HBL PSL is a fantastic event,” admits Umar, adding: “I used to watch it from the sidelines and now I am lucky that I am part of Multan Sultans, so I will leave no stone unturned and make my mark.”
Shahnawaz Dhani also believes he has a huge platform to make an impact. “I know that this is my chance to make it big,” said Dhani, who hails from Larkana, Sindh, and is a right-arm fast bowler. He says, “I am happy that I have got a chance to play under Azhar Mahmood (bowling coach) and Andy Flower (head coach) in Multan Sultans. This will give me a very good chance to hone my talent.” Dhani caught the attention during the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy with his 135-140kph speed. He took 26 wickets in seven matches. He also has an effective bouncer, so watch out for Dhani in the emerging category.
Aarish Ali Khan has been a top performer for the past couple of years. He is a left-arm spinner with an outstanding ability to disguise the batsmen and stopping the flow of runs in white-ball cricket. Aarish emerged from a PCB-conducted tournament in 2016, ending as the leading wicket-taker with 45 strikes at 12.24. He was also the second-highest wicket-taker in the PCB National Under19 three-day tournament with 30 wickets, striking at 16.27 in 2019.
Saim Ayub is a left-handed batsman. Ayub has led Pakistan at the U16 level and helped Pakistan win against Australia. He can hit big and long. He was unlucky to miss the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup last year due to an injury.
He is geared up for the big chance, he said, “I am all prepared, mentally and physically, and would do my best to take a flight from the HBL PSL and achieve what I have set out for in cricket.”
So which player out of them all are you rooting for?