A look at the players who could be future stars for Pakistan
Zaman Khan, Lahore Qalandars
Zaman Khan first made his name in the newly launched Kashmir Premier League where he played a big role in Rawalakot Hawks winning the inaugural title. The 20-year-old was the most sought-after player in the emerging category and Lahore Qalandars picked him at the first opportunity. The Mirpur born fast bowler whose action resembles Malinga was the only player from the emerging category to play all the games for his team in the season. He was also amongst the wickets picking up 18 wickets, only 2 bowlers picked up more highlighting his impact. Zaman’s quality and ability to handle pressure was evident during the match against Islamabad United with 12 needed for a win, he conceded just three against Asif Ali and Azam Khan.
Salman Irshad, Peshawar Zalmi
Salman Irshad was a product of the Lahore Qalandars development program, having come through their ranks in 2018. However, despite being hyped by the Qalandars as someone who can consistently click 150ks, Irshad neither maintained that pace nor consistency and was released by the Qalandars. Surprisingly Zalmi picked him up in the draft and the 26-year-old repaid their faith by taking 15 crucial wickets, at a strike rate of 12.80, and an average of 17.60 and was Zalmi’s leading wicket-taker. Irshad’s yorker to dismiss Alex Hales in the Eliminator 1 was arguably the ball of the tournament. Pakistani fans will hope this is the beginning of something special for the slingy Irshad.
Mohammad Haris, Peshawar Zalmi
The 2nd Zalmi player to make the list, wicket keeper batsman Mohammad Haris was a relative unknown until he announced himself with a match-winning 49 off 27 balls for Peshawar Zalmi against Karachi Kings on his PSL debut. The 20-year-old gave further proof of his class by smashing a 32 ball 70 against Islamabad United. The Peshawar born Haris ended the season scoring 166 runs at an incredible strike rate of 186.51. Haris’s impact can be highlighted by the fact that the youngster reinvigorated a flagging campaign for Zalmi helping them maintain a perfect record of reaching the play-offs in each PSL season.
Abdullah Shafique, Lahore Qalandars
Abdullah Shafique is not someone who suddenly made his name via PSL as he had already represented Pakistan in Tests and T20s. However, he makes the list as he was known as a longer version batsman but also showed his class in PSL, repaying the faith shown by the Qalandars management on him. The 22-year-old scored 251 runs, but his defining moment came in Eliminator 2 against Islamabad United in which Shafique scored a 28-ball 52 in a low scoring match. No other player from the side could make more than 30 runs in the game, and his knock proved the difference in a tight match helping Lahore reach the final.