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•PSL 3 -Key Retained Players
•Recently, the Pakistan Super League franchises released their list of player retentions. A lot of thinking went behind this as some key decisions needed to be made and requirements for each category had to be met as well. The new team Multan Sultans were then required to choose their initial pool of players from the retention list so they were also keeping a close eye on who would be available.
Since the list has been released, I have been meaning to write a piece on the key players who have been retained and also the transfers that have taken place so here goes… •Quetta Gladiators •Sarfraz Ahmed: •A franchise that in comparison may not have the so called ‘big names’ but has done tremendously well under the leadership of Sarfraz Ahmed. He continues to lead by example both on and off the field and his fighting spirit rubs off on his teammates whether he is captaining Quetta or the Pakistan National Team. Whether Quetta is chasing 180 or defending 140, he will ensure the team fights till the very end.
•Sarfraz Ahmed – Quetta GladiatorsI believe he is an absolute key to his team’s success and he will be looking to go one step better as in both editions they have come short and finished as runners up. Quetta will also be relying on his runs in the middle/end overs. He is generally a busy cricketer, keeps the scoreboard ticking and finds the boundary at the right time. He has played some valuable knocks in both editions and will be looking to bank a few big innings in PSL 3 too.
•Kevin Pietersen •Kevin may not be everyone’s favourite and people do have differing opinions with regards to him. Question often arise whether he should have played for England for longer than he did? Are England missing him in the team? Is he a tough personality to have in the dressing room? However, one thing for sure is that he is a match winner and scores a lot of runs very quickly; he can make scoring look very easy and cause the oppositions serious headaches. He was heavily relied upon in Season 1 and 2 by Quetta and he will be rejoining them in PSL 3. Both franchise and fans will want him to lead from the front as Luke Wright and Ahmed Shehzad are no longer part of the franchise. It will be interesting to see who else is bought by the franchise at the top of the order but one thing is for sure – there aren’t many who will be as good as him. Quetta fans will also be hoping that if they make the final that Kevin Pietersen will also play in Pakistan, which is one of the reasons they didn’t get over the finish line last time around. •Islamabad United
•Andre Russell •The best way to sum him up is that he’s a powerful, hard hitting all-rounder who clears the ropes with ease. He was missed by Islamabad United last season in the middle order and they will be glad to have him back this year. He’s also very useful with the ball too, bowling at a decent pace and getting wickets at crucial times. Islamabad were short of key performers after their Season 1 triumph, with no Andre Russell, Khalid Latif and Sharjeel Khan last year. •Russell has played in various leagues around the world and he’s not only played a crucial role in his franchises but seems to be somewhat a lucky charm for them. Not only is he a T20 World Cup Winner, but he has also won the Big Bash, BPL, CPL, PSL and he will be looking to add another winners medal in the PSL again. The Pakistani players in the squad will be looking to pick his brains especially on how to clear the ropes whilst under pressure… Well, that is an art!
•Shadab Khan •It was only last season that Shadab was in the emerging category for Islamabad Utd, and there was a question mark as to how many games he would even play. Nine months on and he was a bright spark in otherwise an average season for Islamabad – bowling well and batting without fear. He also played a significant role in helping Pakistan win the Champions Trophy, and reach the #1 position in the ICC T20 Rankings. •Image sourceShadab has been part of the CPL and soon will be showcasing his talent in the BPL and the Big Bash. In the last 12 months, he has picked up valuable experience rubbing shoulders with the world’s best cricketers and what is even more exciting is that he’s only 19 so has time on his side to improve further and become a major asset for both Islamabad Utd and Pakistan.
•Lahore Qalanders •Sohail Khan •Sohail had a cracking PSL last year and finished as the leading wicket taker. He hasn’t played for Pakistan much since but he will looking to use PSL Season 3 as a way of impressing the national selectors. He has been working on his fitness and is a clever bowler. Sohail has also taken a lot of wickets in first-class cricket.
•READ: Exclusive interview with Uzayr Raja of the Indoor Big Bash League •People will say the pitches are poor and bowler friendly but you still have to bowl in the right areas which he has been doing. Sohail also adds bit of depth in the batting department, batting aggressively lower down the order, and has made some useful contributions for the Pakistan national team. I feel it is a big year for him and he will be looking to impress with his new franchise, a straight swap for Mohammed Rizwan in the draft.
•Aamer Yamin •Aamer may not be express pace but bowls consistently in the right areas and gets the ball to swing. He is an all-rounder and has recently made a comeback to the Pakistan squad for T20s. He has been causing batsmen all sorts of problems in First Class Cricket and also scoring runs too. He will be eager to make an impact to get a breakthrough in the Pakistan National Team and this will be a good platform to do just that. •He showed glimpses of what he is capable of last time round but I feel he will have a big part to play this year if Lahore Qalanders are to do well this year. I think the fact that there’s not huge pressure, he will be able to play freely and use this tournament to make a name for himself. •Karachi Kings
•Mohammad Amir: •Since his return to cricket after a 5-year gap, he has played a lot of cricket in a short span of time and Pakistan will have to manage his load carefully. He got a hat-trick in Season 1 but otherwise Season 1 and 2 was relatively quiet. I think he will be raring to go in Season 3 and will do well, especially early on.
•Mohammad Amir – Karachi KingsHe can get the ball to move early on and can bowl at a dangerous pace although we have only seen glimpses of what he is capable of since his return. He has been working closely with Azhar Mahmood (Pakistan and Karachi Kings bowling coach) and they are working hard on elements where his game needs work. With 3 months to go, they will be hoping to see a lot more wickets from him in Season 3!
•Babar Azam: •Islamabad Utd must be regretting letting him go after Season 1, but someone’s loss is always someone else’s gain. He has been in sublime form for the national team in ODIs and T20s, and recently participated in the CPL as well. Babar was opening up last season but I am sure he will be looking to replicate his good form for Karachi Kings and help them win more games this year. •In recent years, Karachi has been a star studded team but failed to meet expectations. Having young prospect Babar Azam in good form will certainly help them and I am confident he will play a significant role in their upcoming campaign.
•Peshawar Zalmi •Hasan Ali •Hasan Ali needs no introduction. Just like his celebration, he has burst onto the scene in style. PSL Season 1 is where it all started for him, and now is a key member of Peshawar Zalmi as well as the Pakistan national team. He has also climbed the ICC Bowler Rankings, becoming the #1 bowler very quickly due to his match winning performances for Pakistan especially at the Champions Trophy. •Image sourceHe will be making his BPL debut this season too, and has also played in the CPL this year and done well there too. For me, he is one of the early contenders for Player of the Season/Best Bowler in PSL 3.
•Mohammad Hafeez •Mohammad Hafeez is an experienced campaigner and him being allowed to bowl again will definitely be a handful, especially against left handers. He is more known for his batting and Peshawar will be relying on him. I feel he seems to be more effective in a finishing type of role as seen in the Champions Trophy recently. He is someone who can clear the ropes and can also rebuild if the openers don’t get going. He will certainly be an asset in Season 3 in both batting and bowling departments. •Hope you liked this article! •– Uzayr Raja, Stem Sports •Twitter handles: •@uzayrraja123 •@stemsports1 •Posted in News, UpdatesEdit