Youngsters aim to deliver in PSL Abu Dhabi-leg

From our correspondent

LAHORE: The HBL Pakistan Super League has been synonymous with providing exposure to young and talented cricketers since its inception in 2016. A number of youngsters have gone on to make a big name at the international level after gaining exposure at one of the most competitive T20 leagues in the world.

Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan and Haider Ali honed their skills in the HBL PSL environs before introducing their exploits at the international stage.

The HBL PSL 6 has introduced a number of newcomers. With the tournament moving to its business end in Abu Dhabi from next month, Lahore Qalandars’ Ahmed Danyal, Peshawar Zalmi’s Mohammad Imran, Quetta Gladiator’s Saim Ayub, Multan Sultans’ Sohaibullah and Islamabad United’s Zeeshan Zameer are eager to prove their worth.

Joining this talented bunch is Mohammad Haris. Haris hails from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was part of the Pakistan squad f0r the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2020. He has been picked by defending champions Karachi Kings.

Right-arm pacer Ahmed who played for Qalandars in a T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi prior to the start of the HBL PSL 6, represented Qalandars in four matches in Karachi, taking two wickets including bowling Kings’ Colin Ingram for a first ball duck.

Zalmi’s Swat-born Imran (left-arm-medium-fast) has been most impressive with the guile and control as his 7.05 economy rate suggests. Like Ahmed, Imran made his T20 debut in the HBL PSL 6. He played all of his side’s five matches to date and took three wickets and ensured that the batsmen stayed in check.

Saim also made his T20 debut in the HBL PSL 6 Karachi-leg. The Karachi-born left-handed opener, played all five matches for the Gladiators in his hometown. He scored a valuable 23 in a 69-run opening stand with Usman Khan against Sultans’ in his side’s only victory of the season.

Sultans’ played left-armer Sohaibullah in their opening match of the season. He was picked by the franchise after an impressive run in the last year’ National T20 Cup. He took five wickets for Central Punjab at an average of 28. It was his economy rate of 7.78 which stood out as he denied batsmen opportunities to score freely.

United have in their ranks U19 fast bowler Zeeshan Zameer, who was named in the Pakistan U19 team for the tour of Bangladesh last month, which was later postponed. Though the right-arm quick did not turn out for the 2016 and 2018 champions in Karachi, the United have a talented prospect in him who they can turn to in Abu Dhabi.

Lahore Qalandars Ahmed Daniyal aims to live up to the billing of the team management in bowling and will fulfill his role which will be given to him.

“The Lahore Qalandars management reposed their trust and confidence in me which has made my introduction to the HBL Pakistan Super League a memorable one. T20 is a tough format for any bowler but if you have belief in your skills and can make your execution correct you have good chances of success,” Daniyal said.

“During the Karachi-leg, I wanted to show my potential to Pakistan cricket fans and justify my selection. During the last month or so, I have worked hard on various aspects of my game. For the Abu Dhabi-leg my aim is to continue my progress and deliver the role assigned to me. We had a good run in Karachi and if we continue in the same manner, we can surely make history and lift the trophy for the first time,” Daniyal added.

Karachi Kings rookie stumper Mohammad Haris is excited for his PSL debut.

 “I am absolutely thrilled to join the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 defending champions. Karachi Kings is a big franchise with some of the biggest names in the game and to rub shoulders with them will be nothing short of a dream coming true for me,” Haris said.

“If given an opportunity I would aim to play my natural game and back my skills that helped me at the U19 level and for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the last domestic season. I have worked really hard on my batting, wicket-keeping and overall fitness in recent months and I hope that I make all of that count when I take the field for my team in Abu Dhabi,” Haris said.

Peshawar Zalmi’s pacer Mohammad Imran is determined to carry his Karachi-led momentum into the Abu Dhabi leg.

“This is my first season of the HBL Pakistan Super League. I really enjoyed the Karachi-leg especially since I was given a big responsibility of bowling at various stages of the 20 overs by the team management. My aim was to keep things simple and make runs scoring tough for the batters.

“The Abu Dhabi-leg would be another big challenge but I am very keen on continuing my progress and learn more about bowling in the format and make significant contributions for my team. I have felt very welcomed in the Zalmi camp and it has been a phenomenal experience for me so far which I want to make even more memorable in the upcoming games.”

Quetta Gladiators Saim Ayub said that his association with Gladiators has helped him learn from the cricket stars.

“The opportunity to open the innings for Gladiators in the Karachi-leg was a hugely exciting one for me. At the start of the tournament I found the big stage a bit challenging but the team management gave me a lot of confidence and encouragement. I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey with the Gladiators so far and it was a great privilege to share the crease with T20 stars like Chris Gayle and Faf du Plessis,” Saim said.

“The partnership with Usman gave me a lot of confidence as we were able to set-up the platform for our first win of the season. Now in the Abu Dhabi-leg I would want to utilise the experience I gained in Karachi and ensure that I contribute to the team’s cause. We have a lot of work to do there but we have the depth and pedigree in our squad to make a big comeback and stake a claim for a playoff spot,” he said. Meanwhile Multan Sultans Sohaibullah is ready to live up to the billing.

“I got the opportunity of playing Sultans’ opening game of the season, I really enjoyed the challenge of bowling to Islamabad United’s world-class batting line-up. Although I didn’t play any further part in the Karachi-leg, I am as prepared as ever to showcase my talent and ability,” Multan Sultans Sohaibullah said.

“We had a bit of a struggle in Karachi but we are more than capable of making a strong comeback in Abu Dhabi. As an opening bowler, I know I have a tough role to perform in the T20 format, but that is the kind of challenge I enjoy. I would give my 100 per cent whenever I get the opportunity to play in Abu Dhabi, I have the confidence in my skills of delivering as per my captain and coach’s plan.”

“Being part of the Islamabad United is a huge honour for me, I really enjoyed my time in Karachi as senior bowlers in the side gave me constant guidance and support. I have practiced really hard on my skills in the last month or so following the Pakistan U19 team camp in Lahore,” Zeeshan Zameer of Islamabad United said.

“I really enjoy bowling fast and taking on the batters in the T2o format. My aim would be to make a big impression when I get the opportunity to wear the United kit in Abu Dhabi. The HBL Pakistan Super League is a fantastic platform for young players from all around the country and we have seen some real talent emerge from the tournament. Our team did very well in Karachi and we have a real chance of qualifying for the playoffs and eventually winning the trophy for the third time.”