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PSL Draft: Knowing the Unknown
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PSL Draft: Knowing the Unknown

The player’s draft of the Pakistan Super League 2018 was held at a star-studded gathering this Sunday at National Cricket Academy, Lahore. All six teams including the debutants Multan Sultans took turns to complete their squad for the third edition of the tournament. While the limelight may have been with the big-name signings of international stars like Chris Lynn, JP Duminy, Colin Ingram, Mitchell Johnson and Luke Ronchi, PSL franchises and their mentors also locked their heads to pick the best from Pakistan’s domestic scene. The fans may be familiar with the well-established domestic players like Raza Hasan, Hassan Mohsin, Hammad Azam & Mohammad Irfan Jr. but there were some signings unfamiliar to average cricket fans.


Taimur Sultan

Picked by: Peshawar Zalmi

Category: Silver


Taimur Sultan first caught the eye when he helped his team, University of the Central Punjab qualify for the semi-final of Red Bull Campus Cricket 2016. He started his professional cricket career with SNGPL in January 2016 sharing the dressing room with the likes of Misbah, Rizwan, Azhar and Hafeez. He scored his maiden first-class century for SNGPL in the on-going Quaid-e-Azam Trophy against Saeed Ajmal’s Faisalabad. He is yet to feature in a twenty-20 match.


Shaheen Shah Afridi

Picked by: Lahore Qalandars

Category: Emerging


Shaheen Shah Afridi shot to fame when he took 8 for 39 in 15 overs for Khan Research Laboratories – the best bowling figures by a Pakistani on first-class debut. Days later, his agent bagged him a 1 crore deal with the BPL franchise Dhaka Dynamites. A month later, he has been picked by Lahore Qalandars in the Emerging category for Pakistan Super League 2018. Shaheen who has represented Pakistan U19 in Asia Cup has taken 11 wickets in his first two FC matches. He is yet to play a T20 game.


Sohail Akhtar

Picked by: Lahore Qalandars

Category: Silver


A hard-hitting batsman from Tribal Areas and a medium-pace bowler, Sohail Akhtar was spotted by Lahore Qalandars during their talent hunt program in FATA. He made his first-class debut for Abbottabad in 2013 & has featured in only a handful matches since then. So far, he has played in ten T20 games and has scored 129 runs and has picked up three wickets. A strange and risky pick for many because of his age, 32, Sohail can certainly hit a long ball as shows from his T20 strike rate of 152. Surely, this is what has the LQ management had in mind when they picked him in the Silver category.


Gulraiz Sadaf

Picked by: Lahore Qalandars

Category: Supplementary


Following excellent glove work behind the stumps and a superb batting display during the National One Day Cup in 2009/10, Gulraiz Sadaf sprung as one of the contenders to replace Kamran Akmal after his horror show in 2010. Considered too young at that time, Gulraiz was left to wander in domestic cricket to gain more experience. Since then, he has been a regular feature for his sides Multan and United Bank. He has made over 400 dismissals in FC cricket but his batting is sub-par for modern day wicketkeepers. He only has 653 runs in 39 T20 innings at an average of 20.4 but his clean glove work must have impressed the LQ selectors.


Tabish Khan

Picked by: Karachi Kings

Category: Silver


A consistent performer since making his first-class debut in 2002/03, Tabish Khan caught the public’s eye when he clean-bowled Ricardo Powell, Jermaine Lawson and Thandi Tshabalala off successive deliveries to restrict an International World XI chase down Pakistan All Stars XI total in an exhibition T20 match at National Stadium, Karachi. He has been consistently ignored by Pakistan selectors despite picking up 515 wickets in 113 FC matches but his local franchise Karachi Kings has provided him an excellent opportunity to stake his claim at international selection.


Sahibzada Farhan

Picked by: Islamabad United

Category: Emerging


Scores of 53, 54, 58, 54 & 112 in consecutive matches of the Pakistan Cup 2017 made Charsada-born Sahibzada Farhan the most talked about domestic player on social media. Many saw a hard-hitting opener in him who knew how to utilize the power-play overs. His prowess with the bat was on full display during the recent Hong Kong Super Sixes tournament where he helped Pakistan reach the final. In his three T20 matches till date, he has hit two half-centuries at a healthy strike rate of 140. He was rightly picked by Islamabad United in an Emerging Category, as the experience of an international-standard league is what he needs in his career right now.


Ibtisam Sheikh

Picked by: Peshawar Zalmi

Category: Emerging


A right-arm leg break bowler and a handy batsman down the order, Ibtisam started his U19 youth cricket for his home city Hyderabad before he was spotted at the Peshawar Zalmi. He made his first-class debut for Faisalabad in the on-going Quaid-e-Azam Trophy picking up Misbah-ul-Haq's wicket as his first in professional cricket. Ibtisam wears sports glasses to bat and bowl and has a very deceptive googly in his armory.


Mohammad Hasnain

Picked by: Islamabad United

Category: Supplementary


Sparkling performances for Hyderabad U19 earned Mohammad Hasnain a call up to PCB’s High Performance & Skills Camp for U19 players at Multan. A good show in the camp booked him a ticket for U19 Asia Cup 2016 in Sri Lanka. Although Pakistan could not qualify for the semi-final of the tournament, Hasnain caught the eye of Islamabad franchise. He may not be tall but he can bowl fast and centers his aggression well during bowling.


Azam Khan

Picked by: Quetta Gladiators

Category: Supplementary


Son of legendary wicketkeeper & Quetta Gladiators coach Moin Khan, Muhammad Azam Khan first came into news when his name was withdrawn from the squad of Pakistan's U19 for Asia Cup 2016 for being overage. Bulky and a bit overweight for an athlete, his selection led to Gladiators’ fans accusing Moin Khan of nepotism but to his defense, Azam is a very talented batsman who has scored a lot of runs during his stints with Karachi U19. He also made 106 runs of just 64 balls on his U16 debut.


Sameen Gul

Picked by: Peshawar Zalmi

Category: Emerging


Sameen Gul was spotted by Sarfraz Nawaz at the U16 trials in Lahore and since then has made his way up. He has represented Pakistan at their U17 tour to England and at the U19 World Cup 2016 where he touched 140km/h regularly. He was invited to a fast bowler’s camp hosted by PCB and headed by Wasim Akram. He made his first-class debut with United Bank and has taken 57 wickets in 12 FC games. Cricket pundits who have seen him bowl report that he possesses the viciously in-dipping swing that Anwar Ali once had, but needs to work a lot on his run up.


Saad Ali

Picked by: Quetta Gladiators

Category: Silver


The leading run-scorer of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2017/18, Saal Ali has been well rewarded for his consistent performances in domestic cricket and at the U19 level. He is averaging 83 after the current round of matches in the QeA Trophy and averages 47 overall in FC cricket. He will make his T20 debut for Islamabad in the ongoing National T20 Cup. He also averages 55 in List-A cricket, which proves his ability with the bat. He can be a handy part time bowler too.


Saud Shakeel

Picked by: Quetta Gladiators

Category: Emerging


Saud Shakeel was part of Pakistan's squad that played the U19 World Cup in 2014. He had a mixed World Cup with the bat but his current form reflects his true ability. He is currently the 4th highest run-scorer of QeA Trophy 2017/18. Saud Shakeel idolises Saeed Anwar & Michael Hussey and bowls left-arm spin too. In the six twenty-20s that he has played, he has scored just 29 runs and has taken 3 wickets.