PSL debutants to watch out for:
From Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman to Shaheen Shah Afridi, Faheem Ashraf and Haris Rauf, the HBL PSL has catapulted careers of a number of players in the last four years.
Most of these players have gone onto establish themselves as international cricketers besides plying their trade in T20 leagues around the world.
Here is a list of players who can turn into stars by the time the PSL ends on 22th March.
Akif Javed –Islamabad United (Left Arm fast Bowler)
Kohat-born 19-year-old left-arm-fast bowler Akif Javed has already made a big impression on the domestic T20 scene in only handful of appearances. Akif rose to prominence in the National T20 tournament where all Pakistan’s stars took part. Playing for Balochistan, Akif proved his worth with his pace, subtle variations that earned him nine wickets in seven matches. The tall left armer also represented the victorious Pakistan Emerging Team in the ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Bangladesh last November. Akif was also called for the PCB High performance Camp highlighting his quick progress and potential.
Arshad Iqbal –Karachi Kings (Fast Bowler)
Kings have inducted the promising right-arm-fast-bowler Arshad Iqbal. The 19-year-old Swabi-born Arshad represented Pakistan U19 in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2018 where he claimed six wickets in five matches. Arshad has featured in seven T20 matches on the domestic circuit over the course of the last two years taking a total of 10 wickets in these matches with a best bowling figure of 3-17. He has an impressive economy rate of 6.80 highlighting his potential. In a squad as full of quality fast bowlers as Karachi Kings, there’s a possibility Iqbal will not get the opportunity his precocious talent deserves but will get a chance to learn from experienced campaigners.
Zeeshan Ashraf – Multan Sultans (Wicket Keeper Batsman):
Okara-born left-handed opener Zeeshan Ashraf stole the show at the HBL PSL 2020 Draft when Multan Sultans drafted him in their squad using the Wild Card pick which bumped-up his category to Diamond from Silver. The 27-year-old pretty much earned his corn following a series of explosive performances in the domestic season for Southern Punjab. The southpaw had a phenomenal run in the National T20 Second XI tournament. He scored a total of 395 runs in seven innings. Zeeshan averaged 65.83 with a staggering 174.77 strike rate. Multan lack a player who can give them the explosive starts which they lacked in the last season and Zeeshan has all the capabilities to turn the weakness in to a position of strength for Multan. The opener can also keep wickets which is why many have him as their wildcard pick for the World T20 in November due to the dearth of good wicket keeper batsmen in Pakistan.
Haider Ali – Peshawar Zalmi (Wicket Keeper Batsman)
Hailed by commentator Ian Bishop as the one to watch for Pakistan in the coming years, Haider Ali is another rising batting star who has made an impact at the junior and first-class level. The Rawalpindi-born 19-year-old is an opening batsman with a wide array of shots. Haider has been a Pakistan U19 regular in recent years and featured in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 where he scored a half-century in Pakistan’s semi-final loss to India. Haider scored 134 for Northern in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final against Central Punjab highlighting his big game temperament. He has accumulated 645 runs in the format at 49.61 after making his debut in the last domestic season. Haider may be more of an accumulator at the moment, but he has the potential to don the gloves for Pakistan for a long time.
Aarish Ali Khan – Quetta Gladiators (Left arm spinner):
The 19-year-old Karachi born left-arm-spinner Aarish Ali Khan had a rewarding U19 season which saw him earn a place in the Pakistan U19 squad for the recently concluded ICC U19 Cricket World Cup played in South Africa.
In the National U19 One-Day tournament this season, Aarish took the most wickets (15 wickets in six matches). He is a wily spinner who maintains a nagging line and length. Aarish can also bowl with the new ball; he bowled with control and penetration in the Ramazan T20 tournaments across Karachi last year. The Gladiators have the likes of Mohammad Nawaz, Fawad Ahmed and Zahid Mehmood as the spinners in their ranks whom Aarish can a lot from. The defending champions have a potential star in their ranks and if given the chance Aarish has the potential to star for the Quetta Gladiators.
Khushdil Shah (Middle Order Batsman)
The only pure batsman to make the list and the 2nd Multan Player to feature in our list. Khushdil Shah is a unique case as he has made his Pakistan debut but has not made his PSL debut. Khushdil Shah made his Pakistan debut in the Perth T20 and could manage only eight runs. In a complete revamp of the national team after the 3-0 whitewash at the hands of Sri Lanka, Khushdil was roped in. The 24-year-old had some decent outings for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Pakistan T20 Cup following which he came in.
Last season, he wasn’t picked by any PSL team and this time, he will be looking to make amends. Some handy knocks in the middle order may open the doors for him in the Pakistan national team as Pakistan badly need a big hitter like him in the middle overs and to finish the innings additionally, the Bannu born player can also bowl useful spin bowling.