Each time a fresh edition of a major tournament such as the Pakistan Super League comes around, there is anticipation and excitement among all those involved. For the owners of teams, it is centred around the performance of their teams and the possibility of glory. For the captains of the teams, it is to see if their international stars and established players can pull their weight in a manner that benefits the teams.
New Edition Of The League
For the fans, however, and the millions of viewers who tune in from around the world, the major point of interest is to see, which new talent emerges to take its place in the cricketing firmament. In every edition of the tournament a different star is born, a player who goes from being unknown to a household name, or even a player on the fringes establishing himself as a force to reckon with. The 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League will be no different, and here are some young guns to watch out for:
Mohammad Hasnain, Quetta Gladiators
Having won the tournament in 2019, all eyes will be on the Quetta team once more. This provides a great opportunity for 19-year-old Mohammad Hasnain. The youngster has struggled in his international white-ball career so far, not getting many opportunities in the 50-over format and being taken for runs in Twenty20 internationals. But, he will be hungry to prove himself. With a strong build and the capacity to generate serious pace, almost touching 150 kmph, Hasnain is a bowler with the ability to surprise.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, Lahore Qalandars
Shaheen Shah Afridi has all the dream attributes you look for in a young fast bowler. He is tall, wiry, and thanks to his emergence from tape ball cricket has the ability to move the ball in the air. This makes him a serious threat to batsmen when he gets on a roll, as Bangladesh found out when Afridi ripped through them to pick up 6 for 35 in the 2019 World Cup played in England. Afridi may be young, but he is mature in cricketing terms, having come through the ranks at an early age and with plenty of competitive cricket already under the belt.
Tom Banton, Peshawar Zalmi
It may be unusual to pick a young England batsman as a player to watch in a Pakistani tournament, but those who have followed Tom Banton’s rise from Somerset to England ranks will vouch for his quality, hard work, and all-round skill as a cricketer.
Tidy behind the stumps and just hitting his straps as a batsman, Banton plays largely traditional cricketing shots but he can score at a brisk pace. Already he has had success in Twenty20 internationals, in the Vitaly Blast T20 tournament in England has signed up for the Big Bash League in Australia. There is no reason why he should not succeed in Pakistan.
Shadab Khan, Islamabad United
Shadab Khan is only 22 and already he has played nearly 100 matches for Pakistan, across all formats. This kind of experience is rare for one so young and this why Islamabad United have picked him as captain ahead of many senior players in their ranks.
Shadab, who was earmarked for great things early on and delivered in the Under-19 format at the world level has graduated to senior cricket without disappointing. He continues to grow as a bowler, harnessing the power of his flighted leg-breaks and googlies to trap batsmen time and time again.
While it seems likely that he will continue the tradition of successful Pakistani spinners, it certainly won’t hurt for him to shore up these expectations with a strong performance in the Pakistan Super League. Much is expected of this impressive young man in terms of leadership and bowling, and there is no reason to believe he will not rise to the challenge.