Pakistan's top pace bowling talent showcased in PSL 2020
Pakistan is the land of great fast bowlers. It is the land of Wasim and Waqar. Why then does the team always have to go back to Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz and has struggled to find consistency in their second line of attack?
PSL 2020 offered some answers to this question - in the form of young talent that has begun to make themselves felt even in international cricket and the time is not far when they will begin to dominate teams across the word by dint of their pace and sharpened skills.
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Lahore Qalandars)
At 20, Shaheen Shah Afridi has already played 8 Test matches, 19 ODIs and 12 T20Is for Pakistan. It was not long ago that he was an under 19 sensation and had created excitement among the Pakistani cricket lovers. How swift has been his journey from just another talented under 19 kid to a pace bowler who has now gained consistency in delivering for Pakistan?
On the team's tour of Australia, when all other bowlers seemed to struggle, it was Afridi who stood out by a fair margin. In the Tests against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well, he was a cut above the rest.
In this edition of the PSL, Afridi picked up 13 wickets from 9 games, the second most in the edition. His top performances included 4/18 against Islamabad United and 3/28 against Peshawar Zalmi.
Mohammed Hasnain (Quetta Gladiators)
In list of top wicket takers of PSL 2020, just above Shaheen Shah Afridi, there was another name who has already made a name as an under 19 talent. Hasnain delivered in this edition with 15 wickets from 9 matches at an average of under 20 while picking up two four-wicket hauls.
Known for his pace, Hasnain picked up two four-wicket hauls against Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United and a 3-fer against Karachi Kings to stamp his dominance over the opposition batsmen.
It will not be long before Hasnain becomes a regular feature for the national team.
Naseem Shah (Quetta Gladiators)
Alongside Hasnain, in his franchise Quetta Gladiators, there was another pace bowler who peaked excitement. Even younger than Hasnain, Naseem did not have figures of the same order, picking up just 5 wickets from 6 games but he has already given enough evidence of his ability to keep himself among the best upcoming crop of the country's pace bowlers like Afridi and Hasnain.
After making a mark in the under-19 circuit, Shah has almost seamlessly grown into international cricket. From just four Test matches, he has already picked up 13 wickets including a hat-trick and a 4-wicket haul and 5-wicket haul in consecutive Tests against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Haris Rauf (Lahore Qalandars)
It was a pity that Haris Rauf missed a large chunk of the last edition of the PSL after an ankle injury and could play only five games. Rauf was unearthed by Lahore Qalandars three years ago in open trials. The pacer took 11 wickets in 10 matches for the Qalandars in PSL 04 at an economy rate of 7.41, with the best of 4/23 against Karachi Kings.
Rauf was sent by Qalandars to Australia in order to bag a Big Bash League contract for Hobart Hurricanes. However, that could not materialize.
Instead, after his idol Dale Steyn had a shoulder niggle towards the end of the Mzansi Super League, Melbourne Stars decided to rope in Rauf as his cover. And then unfolded the classic case of one man's misfortune is another's fortune. As English pacer Pat Brown was ruled out of the tournament due to injury, Rauf found himself an extension.
As it turned out, the 26-year-old had a great BBL with 20 wickets, including a 5-wicket haul, despite missing a handful of matches.
©Cricket World 2020