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PSL 2018: Players to watch out

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DUBAI: Here is what you need to know about the key players of the six franchises in third season of Pakistan Super League Twenty20 competition, with just two days remaining.

It is worth noting that two of the three Pakistan players who make the cut are still emerging talents whose best days are ahead of them, the other player being the established Wahab Riaz.

You will find the usual star attractions, such as Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, are missing from this list.

Today, the trophy was jointly unveiled by the captains of each of the PSL franchises at a ceremony held in Dubai.

Have a look at the key players:

1. Jofra Archer (Quetta Gladiators): The Barbados-born fast bowler has already risen to international prominence, even though he is still years away from qualifying to play for England. Picked up by Quetta as a replacement for Carlos Brathwaite when he was named in the West Indies World Cup Qualifier squad, after catching the eye at the Australian Big Bash.

2. Shadab Khan (Islamabad United): The leg-spinner, who bats well down the order and is arguably the best fielder in Pakistan, already feels like an established figure. And yet he is still only 19. It is a year since Dean Jones, his franchise coach, deemed him ready for international cricket on the back of his debut PSL. He has played for Pakistan, and in a variety of T20 leagues since.

3. Eoin Morgan (Karachi Kings): It was recently speculated that Morgan was becoming a modern-day Mike Brearley for England. Meaning that he merits inclusion in the side on captaincy alone, and anything extra from his batting is a bonus. Faint praise on two counts. Morgan will be happy if his leadership is still being spoken about in 37 years’ time. Plus, his batting remains vicious.

4. Andre Russell (Islamabad United): The Jamaican all-rounder has slipped straight back into the old routine, having returned to playing a month ago after a year out suspended for dope-test whereabouts negligence. He has scored two half-centuries and a ton for Jamaica in 50-overs cricket over the past six weeks, and has also been among the wickets. Was a key figure when Islamabad won PSL 1.

5. Wahab Riaz (Peshawar Zalmi): The leading wicket-taker in the PSL’s short history to date with 30 across the two seasons, and a key figure in Peshawar’s title win last year. So motivated was he by the prospect of helping his team to the title in 2017, as well as taking them back to Pakistan for the final, he was in tears on the field after the qualifying final at Dubai International Stadium.

6. Chris Lynn (Lahore Qalandars): It is four years now since Lynn first came to prominence in UAE, when he took a remarkable boundary catch to win an Indian Premier League match for Kolkata Knight Riders in Sharjah. One of the game’s strongest power-hitters, he will be playing PSL for the first time, alongside his Brisbane Heat opening colleague Brendon McCullum.

7. Fakhar Zaman (Lahore Qalandars): This time last year, Fakhar was a little-known former Navy serviceman finding room in the batting-order of the worst-performing PSL franchise. He earned a place opening the batting for Pakistan on the basis of some eye-catching innings for the Qalandars – then four matches later scored a century to beat India in the Champions Trophy final.

8. Alex Hales (Peshawar Zalmi): A new addition to the PSL, Hales is the only England batsman to have scored a T20 international hundred. He also has the second-highest one-day international score by an England player, and the highest score in a domestic cup final in the UK. He has already caught the imagination in UAE this winter, having starred in the T10 League in Sharjah in December.

9. Kieron Pollard (Multan Sultans): The broad-shouldered Trinidadian has not stormed the PSL in the same way that he has some other leagues around the world, but some of his cameos have been sparkling. Last year, he muscled Karachi Kings through the final throes of the group by setting up a win off the last ball against Lahore Qalandars with 45 not out from 20 balls.

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Story first published: 20th February 2018



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