The fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) brought to the limelight many talented youngsters during the first phase in the UAE. For those who do not appreciate T20 leagues around the world, PSL is an example of why such leagues should be encouraged.
Some critics believe that these leagues have commercialised cricket and spoiled cricketers by offering them too much money. While this may be true to a certain extent, leagues like PSL and the Indian Premier League (IPL) have also done a great service to cricket.
Talented cricketers from catchment areas, living in tough conditions, may never have come to the fore but for these leagues. It is doubtful whether so many talented cricketers would have been knocking at the doors of the Pakistan national team but for the PSL.
A case in point is Karachi Kings’ 18-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan. A native of Pakistan’s tribal FATA belt, his father earns a living by repairing punctures on tyres, and this boy grew up bowling at discarded tyres.
Lahore Qalandars’ Haris Rauf, who bowled at 140km/h, may still have been working as a salesperson in a market had it not been for PSL, which has launched his cricket career.
It was a treat to watch Quetta Gladiators’ 18-year-old pacer Mohammad Hasnain, who clocked the fastest delivery of this PSL at 151km/h so far. He got the opportunity to display his natural talent in front of the great players of the game only because of PSL. It is because of this league that many youngsters from the absolute remote parts of Pakistan can dream of becoming cricketers today.
Top players such as AB De Villiers, Shane Watson, Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo all expressed their surprise at the number of natural talents who have played in this PSL. This is also one reason why most of the matches in the PSL turned out to be last-over thrillers. When experienced stars mix with raw young players, then cricket is bound to blossom; and that is what one has witnessed in this PSL.
One has to laud the services of former Pakistan cricketers like Lahore team coach Aaqib Javed who has been actively taken part in spotting talent from the remote areas of Pakistan. Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Moin Khan as team coaches are also inspiring youngsters through this league.
However talented a cricketer may be, reaching the international arena depends on his determination and hard work and PSL can be a launch pad. A youngster like Hasnain now gets the opportunity to be moulded into one of the fastest bowlers in the world. Hence, it is important that a tournament like PSL continues to flourish to add more glory to cricket.