Lahore, 11 February 2020 (Sports Desk):
With only 9 days to go in the opening match of the much-anticipated fifth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League, the fans are taking to social media with their playing XIs for their favourite franchises.
The same level of excitement is found amongst the franchise owners who are eager to see their teams fight tooth and nail for the coveted trophy in front of passionate home crowds.
After months of backroom discussions and deliberations for the crucial process of team selection – Player Draft in December and Replacement Draft last week – the six owners take a look at their line-ups for the upcoming season.
Two-time champion Islamabad United’s owner, Ali Naqvi, said: “We are very happy with the team we have built for this season. At the Draft we went with our tried and tested #DimaghSe strategy and ended up achieving most of our targets.
“Looking at the final squad, we feel very confident about another successful season. Our aim was to surround our younger local players with quality international pros. Hence we are delighted to get the likes of [Dale] Steyn in our squad. His impact on youngsters like Akif [Javed] and Musa [Khan] will be huge. It is one thing to be coached by a legend, but it is an unparalleled experience when you play and train with one.
“Islamabad United have always focused on identifying talent from within the system hence the Emerging category has always been the priority for us. Even our current captain, Shadab Khan, was picked in the Emerging category in HBL PSL 2017. After every HBL PSL season, at least one emerging Islamabad United player has gone on to represent Pakistan. This season we are very confident about it happening again.”
Islamabad United squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Shadab Khan (captain), Dale Steyn and Colin Ingram
Diamond – Faheem Ashraf, Asif Ali and Colin Munro
Gold – Luke Ronchi, Hussain Talat and Rumman Raees
Silver – Amad Butt, Musa Khan, Rizwan Hussain, Zafar Gohar and Phil Salt
Emerging – Akif Javed and Ahmed Safi Abdullah
Supplementary – Saif Badar and Dawid Malan (Silver)
Karachi Kings’ owner Salman Iqbal said: “I am very happy with the squad which we have been able to assemble. Our philosophy was very clear that we have to retain core nucleus of the team with the players who we want to be with us in the long-term, while building a strong bench around them with strategic picks for critical positions.
“Getting Alex [Hales] in the side at the last spot in the round was a coup for us as he was our target player who we wanted to recruit straight into the team. The top T20 batter Babar Azam now has one of the most dangerous top-order partners with him with an in-form Hales. Sharjeel Khan and Cameron Delport build a very strong top-order core with them.
“We have built a multi-dimensional and adaptive bowling core with a focus on getting specialists for different T20 phases. Being able to get CJ [Chris Jordan] really helped us. The team that we have built gives me a lot of confidence about our prospects this season.
“With Imad Wasim, Babar, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Amir, Aamir Yamin and talented youngsters like Umer Khan, who I believe has a tremendous future ahead, Osama and now Arshad Iqbal, who has the desired skill and tactical maturity, we have various pieces we wanted and what remains to be seen is how great a team they can become.
“I have always been impressed by the talent our nation has and I feel it is my responsibility to provide young talent chances to impress. I am often sent videos of talented youngsters from across Pakistan and last year when I heard of the prodigious talent of Umer, I knew we have to pick him. Many other teams have also chosen talented youngsters like Akif Javed, Rohail Nazir and Amir Khan who are very exciting to watch. I look forward to see them play as a franchise owner and as a fan and hope they are going to use this stage to showcase their brilliance and make a name for themselves.”
Karachi Kings squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir and Alex Hales
Diamond – Imad Wasim (captain), Iftikhar Ahmed and Chris Jordan
Gold – Aamir Yamin, Sharjeel Khan and Cameron Delport
Silver – Usama Mir, Mohammad Rizwan, Umaid Asif, Chadwick Walton and Ali Khan
Emerging – Umer Khan and Arshad Iqbal
Supplementary – Mitch McClenaghan and Awais Zia
Lahore Qalandars’ CEO Atif Rana said: “Like the entire country, the Lahore Qalandars are very excited about HBL PSL 2020. Our team has worked really hard behind the scenes to cover all bases for this year’s competition and we managed to achieve all of our retention and Draft selection targets.
“Our squad is a great mix of utility foreign players along with experienced as well as exciting young players from Pakistan. Composition-wise we have covered all the bases. We have good fast bowlers and excellent spinners along with the desired batting strength in the top and middle order. We wanted to achieve the target of putting together a balanced side, which I feel we have.
“Last year, we groomed and presented Haris Rauf, who has now taken the world by storm with his performances. This year, we aim to provide players like Dilbar Hussain and Farzan Raja with similar opportunities to showcase their talent to the world.”
Lahore Qalandars squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Chris Lynn
Diamond – Shaheen Afridi, David Wiese and Usman Shinwari
Gold – Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar (captain) and Samit Patel
Silver – Salman Butt, Seekkuge Prsanna, Ben Dunk, Farzan Raja, Jaahid Ali
Emerging – Mohammad Faizan
Supplementary – Dane Vilas, Dilbar Hussain
Alamgir Khan Tareen, co-owner of Multan Sultans, said: “I am extremely happy since we were able to get all the players that our think-tank had identified. We had targeted certain players for specific roles and we are satisfied with our choices. We have good squad depth and decent like-for-like cover in every position.
“I am particularly excited about the emerging and young players in our team. [Mohammad] Ilyas had a strong HBL PSL 2019 and was one of the top emerging players of the tournament, while Rohail Nazir’s recent accomplishments speak for themselves. Rohail has led the national U19 and emerging teams commendably and we believe that he can be an asset for Pakistan cricket in the future.
“Ali Shafique is an exceptional talent as well. It was unfortunate that his participation in the last edition was curtailed due to an injury, but his extraordinary debut performance against Islamabad United showed everyone what he is capable of. We also have Khushdil Shah in our side whose explosive batting has earned him a call up to the Pakistan team. We hope that he lives up to everyone’s expectations and has a standout tournament.”
Multan Sultans squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Mohammad Irfan, Moeen Ali and Rilee Rossouw
Diamond – Shahid Afridi, Zeeshan Ashraf and Ravi Bopara
Gold – James Vince, Junaid Khan and Sohail Tanvir
Silver – Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood (captain), Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Fabian Allen (from 7 March) and Wayne Madesn (till 7 March)
Emerging – Mohammad Ilyas and Rohail Nazir
Supplementary – Imran Tahir and Bilawal Bhatti
Champions of the HBL PSL 2017 Peshawar Zalmi’s owner Javed Afridi said: “I am extremely happy with the squad. The HBL PSL Draft went very well for us. We were able to pick the players we wanted. We did not have the first pick in most categories, but the players we opted for ticked several boxes for us. Mohammad Akram is the one who looks after this department and his picks have always been top notch.
“We have always opted for a mix of young players and experienced individuals. We had Hasan Ali with us when he was an emerging player and his progress is for everyone to see. Players like Ibtisam Sheikh and Sameen Gul proved their worth. This season, we have U19 stars in Haider Ali and Amir Khan. We are very excited to have them. Another player who could surprise and raise some eyebrows is Mohammad Mohsin.
“We retained most of our key players and got Liam Dawson back in the Draft as well. Tom Banton is an exciting prospect and we were lucky to have the opening pick in that round. He had a very good Big Bash League season with Brisbane Heat. Another player we are looking forward to having is Liam Livingstone. Exciting times ahead!”
Peshawar Zalmi squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard (from 7 March) and Wahab Riaz
Diamond – Kamran Akmal, Tom Banton, Shoaib Malik and Carlos Brathwaite (till 7 March)
Gold – Darren Sammy, Imam-ul-Haq and Liam Dawson
Silver – Umar Amin, Mohammad Mohsin, Rahat Ali, Lewis Gregory and Adil Amin
Emerging – Amir Khan and Amir Ali
Supplementary – Liam Livingstone and Haider Ali
Nadeem Omar, the owner of the defending champions Quetta Gladiators, said: “The Quetta Gladiators squad is well balanced with T20 specialists both in batting and bowling departments. We did fairly well at the Draft with guys like Jason Roy and Ben Cutting joining the Gladiators though we couldn’t retain players like Sohail Tanvir and Rilee Rossouw. Fawad Ahmed getting picked up again was also a great plus.
“Our young and emerging players Aarish Ali Khan and Azam Khan are extremely talented and future prospects for Pakistan and I am sure they will not let us down.
“We are confident that we have a good combination, like last year. If we play to our potential, hopefully we would be the team with the silverware at the end of the HBL PSL 2020.”
Quetta Gladiators squad for HBL PSL 2020:
Platinum – Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain) and Jason Roy
Diamond – Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad and Ben Cutting
Gold – Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hasnain and Fawad Ahmed
Silver – Ahsan Ali, Naseem Shah, Sohail Khan, Tymal Mills, Abdul Nasir
Emerging – Arish Ali Khan and Azam Khan
Supplementary – Keemo Paul (from 7 March), Khurram Manzoor and Zahid Mehmood (till 7 March)