With the PSL draft less than a week away, it’s time we take a look at what the fans believe will be a right addition to their side. We will go according to the set draft order stipulated by the PSL, and there are no categories for players selection.
So let’s begin the mock draft.
Lahore Qalandars (Shmyla Khan)
In true Lahori fashion, the Lahore Qalandars have sauntered into the Draft ready to claim their right to choose first, and undoubtedly the flashiest player from the PSL lot. Embodying this spirit of unearned entitlement, I recklessly pick Evin Lewis.
Lewis has scored 125 off 62 balls vs India this year
After finishing fifth in a tournament with only five teams and failing to qualify for the play-offs (TWICE), it stands to reason that the Qalandars need a dash of heavy-duty adrenalin in the third edition of the PSL. Evin Lewis the perfect antidote for the Qalandar’s dramatic batting collapses in the past (flashback to the abysmal 59 runs—all out in 11 overs—against Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 2).
Evin is a hot T20 commodity: with an average of 36 (strike rate: 154.96) in T20Is and 33 in T20s overall, coupled with the memory of his blistering 125 off 62 balls vs India this year, any team will be lucky to have him. Bringing in Sohail Khan is an effort to bolster the Qalandars’ bowling line-up, but Lewis will be the key to making their batting competitive. The Qalandars have released some key batsmen from their squad, including Grant Elliot who was instrumental in some of the few wins registered last season, so they need a strong batsman as their first draft pick.
With expectations super low, it’ll be great to invest in Evin as a future front-line batsman for the Qalandars. Frankly, anyone would do at this point since the aim is to ensure that, with the addition of the Multan Sultans, LQ doesn’t finish lower than it did last season. #RealisticGoals
Islamabad United (Clive Azavedo)
Sam Billings, Brad Haddin and Nicolas Pooran. These names are the three recognised keepers on the Islamabad United books in the past two seasons. Of these three, only Pooran has not played a game as wicketkeeper for Islamabad United. What this shows us is that Islamabad United loves foreign wicketkeepers.
In the first season the keepers (Sam Billings and Brad Haddin) contributed 220 runs at 8.15 RPO and in the second season it was just Haddin who contributed 139 run at 7.14 RPO. The reason for selecting overseas keepers might be due to the fact that there is a lack of local keepers who can contribute with the bat. Sarfraz Ahmed is taken by Quetta while Kamran Akmal is taken by Peshawar, the rest have had middling performances with the bat.
So for my pick would be an overseas keeper - someone who will be available for most of the season and someone who can score quick runs up the order. One player that ticks all these boxes is Luke Ronchi.
Ronchi will be available for most of the PSL III season
Islamabad United would love to land Ronchi as he solves the opening issue and can keep as well. One issue might be his ability to play spin, but he has shown of late that he can survive against the spinners and get runs, though not at his usual quick rate.
Since 2015, Ronchi has been scoring his runs at 9.67 RPO, his quick scoring will be an asset to an ISLU side which was troubled by slow scoring in the early stages of the innings once Sam Billings left for his England commitments. Along with his batting, Ronchi is a really good wicketkeeper, who gives Islamabad United a perfect balance.
Karachi Kings (Raahat Dar)
The Karachi Kings are better known for their strength in the bowling department rather than batting. For the number of times their batting woes have been exposed, it’s their bowling that’s saved them some grace in both editions of the PSL so far.
After the first season laid bare several weaknesses quite clearly, how could the team go wrong for the second time?
How about splashing money on selective ‘big’ names in world cricket? Sure, this approach works in some places, but KK ended up with little to show. With more exciting and interesting T20 stars signing up for PSL 2018 one can only hope they’d be eyeing to overcome this matter by signing a decent prospect t. And I have just the right man in mind. The 27 year-old Australian batsman, Chris Lynn.
With cricket evolving to the point when batsmen are expected to entertain the crowd and get as many runs as possible in the least possible deliveries, Lynn is your man. Although one doesn’t need to take a look at the Australian’s T20 credentials to get a sense of what he’ll bring to the squad - but his SR of almost 150 with an average of 85.75 in the Powerplay in the Big Bash League and 167 SR with an average of 157 in the Indian Premier League speak volumes of the cricketer he is.
Karachi could do with an explosive batsman in the middle order to pilot them through the innings along with Babar Azam, or if need be, open the batting and keep the scoreboard ticking from the word go.
Quetta Gladiators (Anam Nadeem)
Quetta Gladiators have been one of the most consistent sides of the PSL. (How they’ve failed to clinch the trophy in the first two editions is a tale for some other time). This season, Quetta has the fourth pick in the draft. There are quite a few slots that need to be filled up by them.
In the last edition Quetta utilised Asad Shafiq as a makeshift opener but this experiment didn’t payoff. In the 7 matches Asad played he averaged 24.50 at a strike rate of 108.88. He has been retained this season as well but surely Quetta can not afford to use him as an opener. In the absence of a flamboyant opening batsman, the burden of scoring quickfire runs will be on the middle order as usual. This problem can be fixed though, since a Kiwi batsman named Colin Munro is what Quetta need.
On his day, Munro can change the dynamics of the game singlehandedly
He has mostly batted at one down during his T20I career; his recent promotion as an opener has been a master stroke. Munro had a fairly decent 2016:, but so far, in 2017 he’s hit two centuries (only the fourth player to do so) at a strike rate of 172.22. On his day, Munro can change the dynamics of the game singlehandedly. His medium pace bowling and electric fielding is an added bonus.
If Quetta are lucky enough to pick Colin Munro, it would be a brilliant signing considering how the other franchises are also on the hunt of picking the best openers out there. However, Munro won’t be available for a brief period of time due to international duty (the Kiwis play their last game against England on 10th March). Though he should be back just in time before the start of the business end of the tournament.
Peshawar Zalmi (Farid Khan)
Peshawar Zalmi is not merely a franchise based in the provincial capital, but also an epitome of valour, zest and zeal among people of this nation. In the north-western part of the country, the word ‘Zalmi’ stands for youth – the part of the country where the state of exuberance among the people is irrepressible.
A herd of big names have been roped in for the HBL Pakistan Super League Draft for the upcoming season. The one player who stands out and is accurately aligned to the franchise’s motto is Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan. The 19-year-old leg-spinner from Nangarhar took the world by storm when he fetched the highest ever bid for an Associate player and was signed up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 4 crores (US$ 597,000) in the IPL Auction.
Rashid khan was also featured in the Cricingif IPL finds of this year
Since making his ODI debut for Afghanistan less than a month after his 17th birthday, Rashid Khan has not put a foot wrong in his short cricket career so far. Posessing the Midas touch, he has bamboozled pretty much every batsman he has bowled to irrespective of his prestige and stature. He has already been picked by Adelaide Strikers in the Australian Big Bash League, rendered his services for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the BPL, and is currently in action in the Bangladesh Premier League for Comilla Victorians.
With the PSL Draft just a few days away, it will be interesting to see what strategy do the franchises adopt while picking the available players. One thing goes without saying though – it is as exciting as it gets and we cannot wait for the next Pakistan Super League season to kick off.
Multan Sultans (Sudrish Khan)
Meet the new Mitchell Johnson. On his good days, he can win his team a title. As for the bad days, I haven't seen any in a fair while. Mitchell Johnson can be Multan Sultan’s supreme paceman, and his inclusion in the PSL made me happy and hopeful about the way our league is heading.
Multan Sultans will have Johnson onboard who can probably swing the ball even better under the leadership of the Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram
On the one hand, I am delighted that the newest PSL franchise will get to see one of the best bowlers in action and on the other hand I think about the Pakistani cricketers who will get to share the dressing room with a megastar. Multan Sultans will have a leftie onboard who can probably swing the ball even better under the leadership of the Sultan of Swing, Wasim Akram (the Sultans’ mentor). Johnson’s 313 Test wickets are the most number of wickets for a leftie, after Waz. I somehow believe there will be a strong connection between the two specialists. I have confidence that the post-2013 rebirth of Johnson's bowling will be of immense use in crucial overs and he may even contribute as a low-order batsman if duty calls.