Forgotten stars of Pakistan Super League

Forgotten stars of Pakistan Super League

Synopsis

Bol News takes a detailed look at players who looked destined for big things

Forgotten stars of Pakistan Super League

Image: File Photo

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The seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to begin in less than two weeks’ where top players from the country along with some of the biggest foreign names will showcase their talent.

The concept of such a league at the time of inception was to give young players a platform to showcase what they’ve got and also a chance to learn from some of the biggest names in cricket.

Over the last six seasons, the PSL has managed to give some very promising players to the world of cricket who went on to win numerous matches for their respective countries.

The life of any athlete is very volatile. Their promising-looking careers can fade into anonymity within a year or two and cricket is no exception.

The PSL was never immune from this phenomenon with a score of promising youngsters eventually becoming mere notes in history.

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We are bringing you a list of those players who did more than decent for their franchises but for some reason, never returned to entertain the fans.

 

Imran Khalid (Islamabad United)

Imran Khalid is the first name on this list. The left-arm spinner, who was born in Kot Radha Kisan in the province of Punjab in 1982, played a key role in helping the side in the inaugural edition of the PSL.

Khalid played in nine of the 11 matches in PSL 2016 for United and claimed nine wickets with an impressive economy-rate of just 6.25, which was only bettered by pacers Andre Russell and Mohammad Sami in the squad.

Such was the performance that he even outshined star spinner Saeed Ajmal who played six matches and conceded runs at an economy-rate of 7.13.

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Despite those numbers, Khalid just played three matches in the following season where he claimed a wicket and was a touch expensive.

The now 39-year-old was a seasoned campaigner in the Pakistani domestic circuit at the time of making his debut in the PSL as he started his journey at the First-Class level back in the year 2004 playing for the Faisalabad Region.

Later, he moved to Sui Northern Gas Pipelines. In the T20 format, he played for the Faisalabad Wolves previously as well.

 

Umer Khan (Karachi Kings)

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Young left-arm spinner Umer Khan is an interesting candidate to talk about in this list, largely because of his habit of taking the wickets of big-name players whenever he took part in the PSL for the Karachi Kings franchise.

The Rawalpindi-born ended up playing as many as 17 matches in total in the PSL where he managed to claim 19 wickets at an impressive average of 20.89 along with an economy rate of 7.78

His most prolific season was in 2019 where he claimed 15 wickets for the franchise at an average of 16.13 and a strike rate of just 13.6 along with an impressive economy rate of just 7.11.

However, following that season, he did not play much for the Kings in the 2020 edition where the franchise went on to win the competition.

Many blamed Kings’ now former captain Imad Wasim for not giving Umer the chance to shine in the competition.

Looking at Umer’s list of wickets in the PSL, its quite interesting to see that it features all the big names including the likes of AB de Villiers, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Hafeez, Shane Watson, James Vince, Luke Ronchi, Liam Livingstone, Corey Anderson and Rilee Rossouw.

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Despite all of that, it seems that Umer’s graph over the years has gone down, not only in the PSL but also in the domestic cricket where he fails to cement a place in Southern Punjab starting XI on regular basis.

 

Mohammad Asghar (Peshawar Zalmi)

Mohammad Asghar made his First-Class debut before he turned 16 in December 2014. It looked like he was destined to do one thing – to play cricket at the highest level.

His consistent performances in the domestic circuit ensured that Peshawar Zalmi picked him for the first edition of the PSL.

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He responded with 11 wickets from nine games and ended up as the second-highest wicket-taker amongst the spinners only behind Quetta Gladiators’ Mohammad Nawaz.

After that performance, he became a regular part of the Pakistan A team and was also included in the national squad as a back-up for Yasir Shah who was struggling with his fitness.

Despite his first season’s heroics, Asghar failed to get many opportunities in the seasons to follow and was eventually sidelined.

He has 21 wickets to his name in as many outings in the PSL at an average of 23.28 along with the economy-rate of 7.68.

 

Umar Siddiq (Multan Sultan)

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Umar Siddiq had cricket in his genes and it was no surprise that he made his way to the top in domestic cricket. The son of former Test umpire Siddiq Khan, Umer made his First-Class debut back in 2012 while playing for Lahore Shalimar against Karachi Whites.

Due to his consistent performances at the domestic circuit, the left-hander was eventually picked by Multan Sultans in the fourth edition of PSL.

In a campaign where Sultans remained inconsistent throughout, Umer scored 169 runs at an average of 24.14 along with the strike-rate of 112.66.

Those numbers might not seem enough to earn another season in the PSL but it is important to mention here that in that campaign, he finished as the fourth-highest run-getter for Sultans behind Shoaib Malik, Johnson Charles and James Vince.

In the recently concluded season of the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Umer had a decent time with the bat in hand, finishing as the third-highest run-getter from Southern Punjab with 575 runs to his name.

 

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Ali Shafiq (Multan Sultan)

The right-arm pacer Ali Shafiq made his List A debut for Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in the 2016–17 Departmental One Day Cup.

The 25-year-old made his First-Class debut for Khan Research Laboratories (KRL) in the 2017–18 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and made his T20 debut while playing for Lahore Blues in the 2017–18 National T20 Cup.

During the Pakistan Super League 2019 edition, he played for Multan Sultans and was able to turn some heads during his first match with the bowling figures of 2-11 in his quota of four overs against Islamabad United. For that, he was named the player of the match.

He was later named in the Balochistan’s squad for the 2019–20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy but since then has failed to showcase any impactful performances at the domestic level. In the ongoing domestic season, he was demoted to the Southern Punjab’s second XI side.

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Bismillah Khan (Quetta Gladiators)

Bismillah Khan plays First-Class cricket for Balochistan and was also a part of the PSL franchise Quetta Gladiators.

The 31-year-old is a wicketkeeper-batter and was placed in the Emerging category of the PSL first edition where he was bought by the Gladiators for $10,000.

He scored 55 off 30 balls in his debut match in the PSL against Lahore Qalandars, for which he earned the player of the match award.

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Following that knock, surprisingly Bismillah only played two more innings including the final of the PSL 2016 where he failed to contribute and since then has never managed to play in Pakistan’s premier T20 competition.

He is a regular participant in domestic cricket over the years where he produces a number of impressive performances for Balochistan.

The 31-year-old has played 63 T20 matches in his career where he has managed to score 1,150 runs at an average of 21.29 along with the strike-rate of 122.73, which included eight half-centuries.

 

Ibtisam Sheikh (Peshawar Zalmi)

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Ibtisam Sheikh was born in Hyderabad and started playing hard-ball cricket at the age of just 13 as a fast-bowler. However, his coach Mohammad Shafqat Baloch transformed him into a leg-break bowler.

He made his First-Class debut for Faisalabad in the 2017–18 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and was later picked by Peshawar Zalmi in the 2018 edition of the PSL.

Ibtisam impressed everyone with his ability to flight and turn the ball and he looked very capable with the bat in hand as well.

At the time of his arrival, many thought that he would turn out to be the next Shadab Khan but during his first season, despite an impressive beginning, he failed to cement his spot in the starting XI and is now nowhere to be seen.

The 23-year-old has played eight matches in the PSL where he has nine wickets to his name at an average of 19.77 along with an economy-rate of 7.41.

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