Sharjah: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is known for its ability to throw up talented cricketers — and this edition has shown the early signs during the Dubai stage itself.
Many cricketers who have impressed are from humble backgrounds — but they have caught attention through their natural talent.
Pacer Haris Rauf of Lahore Qalandars hadn’t even played in Pakistan’s first class cricket but destroyed Karachi Kings with a spell of four for 23 and he is now the talk of the PSL.
This 25-year-old pacer’s ability to hit around 150km/h has attracted the attention of everyone.
Speaking about his experience with PSL and Lahore, he said: “With all the hard work my team management has invested in me, I feel it is my responsibility to help my side win matches.
“I am able to play in the PSL because my team spotted me through the player development programme.” A boyish looking 19-year-old Umer Khan, who took the prize wicket of A.B. de Villiers in the match against Lahore, is a promising left-arm spinner.
A native of Pakistan’s former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) belt, he was spotted by the Karachi Kings team management.
His father earns a living by repairing tyre punctures and the young man grew up bowling at discarded tyres as wickets.
Speaking about how he reached the PSL, he said: “I started playing from Grade V but since my family was not well off, I got only very few opportunities to play. I once took six wickets in a match and coach Kabir Khan recommended me to Karachi Kings.”
Multan Sultan’s 22-year-old pacer Ali Shafiq, who won the Man of the Match against defending champions Islamabad United, has also been impressive. He bowled a tight spell of two for 11 which pushed Islamabad into defeat.
Ali first caught the attention of Multan officials by taking 59 wickets in 14 first class matches and is expected to win more matches for Multan.
Another youngster creating an impact is the 20-year-old Peshawar Zalmi leg spinner Ibtisam Shaikh.
He bowled brilliantly in his team’s seven-wicket win over Lahore with two crucial wickets for 14 runs and proved as a good fielder with two good catches.
Peshawar Zalmi’s head coach Mohammad Akram, who was scouting for a leg spinner, spotted Ibtisam in Islamabad and asked him to bowl a few overs in the nets.
“I know I have to keep on performing and I believe I will be there [in the Pakistan team] some day,” he remarked.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmad wants selectors to have a look at the promising youngsters with an eye to building a Pakistan team for future.
“The selection committee will consider all individuals who performs well during this PSL for the national team,” assured Sarfraz.
For these promising youngsters, playing with the top stars in the PSL is a learning experience.
The legendary Viv Richards, who arrived here yesterday and is the mentor of Quetta team, said: “PSL has attracted the best players from around the world and that is the success of this league. It is a great T20 league that is played by the best players.”