With the Pakistan Super League Draft upon us, here’s where we look at some of the top players who could do well and get call-ups from the respective PSL teams.
An aggressive English opener by trade, Alex Hales was recently drafted into the Test team as well but wasn’t an immediate success in that format. That obviously does not take away from his impressive white-ball cricket record, which has seen him score his ODI runs at a strike-rate of 95 and 3911 Twenty20 runs at 138. He will be a huge asset in teams which are looking for attacking opening batsmen.
England captain and one who bats in the middle-order, Eoin Morgan loves unorthodoxy and some of the reverse sweeps he plays are a treat to the eye. His leadership experience will be of immense help as well, and while he might not be in line to captain any side – unless there are some last-minute calls – he will be a huge asset to the sides. Will any side pick him?
Not a name that inspires a lot of trust but the man has paid a price for his indiscretions. Salman Butt is back playing domestic cricket and will hope he gets picked by one of the PSL franchises, which could kick-start the second innings of his cricket career. Not too many players get the opportunity for a comeback though and fans will hope he gets things right if this left-handed opening batsman can get going with the bat.
Injuries have taken a toll on this yorker-bowling, arm-slinger from Sri Lanka but a fit Lasith Malinga will be an asset for any team and especially in a format like this. Don’t need to say much about his bowling except to talk about his record – he has 291 ODI wickets at 27.77 and a whopping 299 Twenty20 scalps from just 221 games which makes him the best bowler in the world in this format. What also helps is his economy which is currently at 6.69 in T20 cricket, the best combination to have.
England’s Adil Rashid has been a late bloomer but has found his calling in this latest format of the game. He’s a decent white-ball cricket batsman but where he has begun to do well is leg-spin bowling and as a result, on pitches where there could be assistance to slow bowlers, Rashid could be of a huge advantage. The question is whether teams will prefer home-grown talent over Rashid in the playing XIs even if he gets called up during the PSL Draft.
Having made his international duty recently in their series against Bangladesh, 21-year-old Ben Duckett is tipped to be the next big thing in T20 cricket to go with his international appearances. A look at his young List A and Twenty20 career clarifies any doubts anyone would have – in 35 List A games, he averages 53 with the bat including a highest-score of 220. And he averages 31 in T20 cricket to go with a strike-rate of 131. Quite sure there will be many PSL teams baying for his selection.
All-rounder Wayne Parnell has been injury-prone in recent times but when it comes to T20 leagues around the world, Parnell is a go-to man for a lot of teams. His ability to bowl fast, and also get his cutters going on pitches in UAE will make for him being a good choice come the PSL Draft but more importantly, he can also give the ball a fair tonk and might prove to be one of the more useful all-rounders of the competition.
Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad had once said he not only scores a lot of runs, but eats a lot too. His physique does look a tad anachronistic for today’s times but the bottomline is that he is a decent wicket-keeper and a hard-hitter of the cricket ball at the top of the order. His selection in PSL will also mean Afghanistan has a representation in the tournament and quite a character at that.
Former Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor has quit international cricket for good to be able to play in county cricket and earn his pay. He is only 30, and one of the better timers of the ball and has more than 12 years of experience already which makes him for an invaluable resource to have in the team. He can keep wickets as well, to go with his superb middle-order batting but will the PSL teams bite and select him?
26-year-old Shahzaib Hasan has been put into the Gold Category after his excellent time with the bat during the National T20 tournament in Pakistan. He hit 344 runs from nine games at an average of 43 and was the third-highest scorer in the tournament. His five half-centuries and a strike-rate of 132 proved his worth as a clean striker of the ball who could display consistency and that’s where he could come handy for a lot of the teams.
Which players do you think will do well in the PSL Draft? Which players apart from the above list will make the PSL Squads? Let us know of your opinion in the comments section below.