Pakistan Super League (PSL) ends on a most unforgettable and emotional note in Qaddafi stadium Lahore, where after almost 8 years, cricket game of this stature was played amid very tight security. PSL, when in 2016 was launched and organized in UAE for the very first time, it was supposed to help Pakistan cricket find youngsters capable of replacing current playing boys in all formats when needed and help to groom those youngsters by giving them an opportunity to play along with the greats of the game.
Although, the first season didn’t end up recommending that many youngsters to the national selectors, only two names; Hassan Ali (Peshawar Zalmi) and Muhammad Nawaz (Quetta Gladiators) played regularly over the year for Pakistan team after the PSL season.
Now after 2nd edition of PSL it seems like it has started giving what Pakistan cricket was needing. Many youngsters and emerging players have played tremendously in this PSL.
Let’s have a look at some youngsters who in future can possibly play at the highest levels of the sport.
When we talk about emerging players who impressed us a lot in this PSL 2017, the first name that comes to mind is Shadab Khan (Islamabad United). 18 years of age, this young all-rounder was picked up by United from Pakistan Under-19 and made his PSL debut against Lahore Qalandars.
His fearless efforts during fielding were sights to watch besides his batting and bowling. He played a total of 8 matches in this year’s PSL and scored 79 runs with the highest score of 42 and that too in a very tough situation. He remained not-out in 4 matches although he didn’t score much in those matches.
He took 11 wickets in 8 matches with the best bowling figure of his T20 career so far; 3/13 against Karachi Kings.
In his First-class career he is averaging 47 with the bat and with the bowl 26.37 at the economy rate of just 3.61. With this performance, it’s not far away to see him in green.
Another youngster; Fakhar Zaman a promising batsman, was extremely well in this year’s PSL, lone warrior for Lahore Qalandars we can say. From the very first match he made his point clear that he is there to play good cricket and ringing the door bell of national selectors for his spot at maximum level.
He played 8 matches for Lahore this PSL and scored 177 runs with the highest score of 56 against Karachi Kings. He also was given an opportunity to bowl in couple of matches but only got 1 wicket and that was against Karachi Kings in their last battle this year.
His runs are enough to at least consider him but he is much more than that, technically strong, mentally prepared always and a tough man capable to handle pressure games.
Hassaan Khan (Quetta Gladiators) was another player to be noticed this year.
He played 10 matches for Quetta Gladiators and took 9 wickets averaging 25.33 at the economy rate of 6.97, strike rate of 21.7 and his best bowling figure was 2/10 against Lahore Qalandars in their first game of this season.
Inzamam ul Haq; Chief Selector during PSL also have said that this boy is under the radar of national selectors.
Muhammad Irfan Junior, who was one of the findings of national talent hunt by Lahore Qalandars was also quite impressive this year, although wasn’t successful too much but he can be an asset for Pakistan in future, and of course there is always room for improvement and grooming.
He played 7 matches and took 7 wickets with the bowling figure of 3/26 and his strike rate which is 17 is more impressive which means he takes wicket every 17th ball in a T20 match.
Rumman Raees (Islamabad United) was one of the most prominent player this season not only because of his brilliant bowling performance but also because of impressive and killer celebration after taking wickets.
He took 12 wickets for Islamabad United with the best bowling figure of 4/25 against Karachi Kings and that too was the best of his T20 career overall. Muhammad Asghar from Peshawar Zalmi; being impressive in both the editions of Pakistan Super League is also under the radar of the selectors. This year he took 8 wickets for Peshawar Zalmi with the best bowling figure of 3/16 versus Quetta in Qaddafi Stadium Lahore in the final match and helped Zalmi becoming the champion!
These were some of the youngsters who may represent Pakistan. Other than these some of the old players like Shahid Khan Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Sohail Khan and young Babar Azam played extremely well but some of them are retired and not willing to be back but others are keeping their eye on their spots in national team now.