The Pakistan Super League ended elegantly but left more questions for Pakistan cricket behind than answers it was supposed to serve like the other T20 leagues of the world. Pakistan could not find much of the new talent from the event yet it also exposed the fragile nature of the existing pool of the players who are going to take on Asia and the World as their next assignments.
The emergence of players early in the tournament was encouraging as M Nawaz, the young 21-year-old left arm orthodox spinner from Quetta Gladiators had been in the limelight. They have impressed upon the selectors and lucky Nawaz secured his place into T20 World Cup squad courtesy to some scintillating bowling performances. But he was less impressive with the bat. He finished the tournament with 13 wickets and scored 120 runs in 10 matches. Sharjeel Khan made a comeback into the national side after a resounding first century of the tournament in the playoffs against Peshawar Zalmi. However, his only other significant innings came in league stages match against Qalandar where he managed 79 runs. His inconsistency means that the middle order has to be rock solid in Asia Cup and World T20.
The veteran pacer, M Sami, once again impressed the selectors after a remarkable single handed match winning performance against Karachi Kings where he took 5 scalps for just 8 runs. However, he can be wayward and sloppy. Hence, other bowlers need to make up for Sami’s odd day performances. He ended up with 12 wickets in 7 matches that he played Islamabad United to clinch title. Imad Wasim was a huge disappointment with dropping catches and was taken to the cleaners by most of the batsmen. His bowling lacked vitality and zip from which he made his name. He managed only 4 wickets in 8 matches by giving away 137 runs. He couldn’t click with the bat as well and only managed a mere 48 runs in the entire tournament. Wahab Riaz was hostile in the PSL and gave a lot of trouble to the batsmen with his pace. He took 15 wickets for Peshwar Zalmi and certainly seems set to uproot many stumps and trouble the batsmen in the Asia Cup and ICC World T20.
The stylish basher of the ball, Umar Akmal justified his much talked about talent with the bat as he managed to score 4 half centuries for Qalanders with a top score of 93 not out against Quetta and was top scorer of the PSL with 335 runs. He consistently fired for his side which was often seen in trouble waters. Pakistan team will be heavily reliant on the in-form batsman in the upcoming big events.
Shoiab Malik was found in the middle of controversy when he out of the blue excused from the role of Karachi Kings captaincy and was also looked off-colour. He scored 157 runs in 9 matches at a average of 17.4. He mostly kept away from bowling and took only one wicket. He is considered to be the backbone of the national team’s middle order but unfortunately he couldn’t live up to his reputation for his side. Sarfraz Ahmed had a golden run as Quetta Gladiators under his captaincy reached final but he wasn’t in that golden form himself as he scored 168 runs in 10 matches with a poor average of 16.8 runs. The chirpy and animated wicketkeeper in Pakistan national side will have to play an integral role in lower middle order if Pakistan want to finish strong in upcoming assignments.
The professor, Muhammad Hafeez was rather lukewarm. He showed glimpses of brilliance when he scored two half centuries against Qalandars and Kings earlier in the tournament, but that was all he could manage. His aggregate score is 220 in 10 matches with an average of 22. He is surely a better batsman than what these figures reflect.
The crowd puller in UAE, T20 master, Afridi rocked Gladiators by his belligerent bowling figures of 5-7. He managed altogether 10 wickets in 10 matches but scored just 87 runs.
Before PSL, Anwar Ali was hot and cold in New Zealand tour. Coming into the PSL, strong built Anwar performed well, taking 11 wickets in equal number of matches. He was, however, out of thoughts in his batting which is sometimes one dimensional as he tries to hit almost every bowl in the leg side region. He ended up with a meager 38 runs.
Iftikhar Ahmed ironically got picked for WorldT20 after playing 4 matches in the PSL, where he got three innings to bat but could just score 27 runs leaving ardent cricket fans bewildered over his selection.
The lanky fast bowler, M Irfan as expected troubled the batsmen with his extra purchase from wickets. He managed 7 wickets in 5 matches with an economy of 6.19. M Aamir is quickly reaching his peak after his comeback into the national side. He led Kings attack and scored the first hat-trick of the PSL. The gifted left arm pacer took 7 scalps in 7 matches with economical average of 6.55.