The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to start from today at the National Stadium in Karachi with the opening match to be played between the defending champions Quetta Gladiators and two-time title holders Islamabad United after the glittering opening ceremony.
Quetta suffered a huge loss just before the match as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) suspended the middle-order batsman Umar Akmal after he was found involved in suspicious activities.
Islamabad United has decided to give the leadership to the 21-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan which can turn out to be a strange move by the United’s management. They are also going with a new head coach Misbah-ul-Haq who is also associated as the head coach-cum-chief selector of Pakistan cricket team.
Shadab, however, yesterday stated that he will miss former United captain, pacer Mohammad Sami who was not retained nor drafted by United this year. They will be heavily relying on their overseas inductions Dawid Malan, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi in the batting department.
Veteran South African pacer Dale Steyn is yet to join United and in this case, they will heavily rely on Rumman Raees and Faheem Ashraf in the initial matches.
On the other hand, Quetta is packed with impactful players in all departments. The top three have destructive batters, Shane Watson and Jason Roy with Ahmed Shehzad batting at number three as revealed by the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, the most successful captain of PSL.
In the bowling department, they have the talent of extreme young pacers Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain followed by the most consistent spinner for Gladiators, Mohammad Nawaz. Naseem might not play the opener but if he plays in the latter part, he will probably lead the bowling attack.
With the inclusion of Anwar Ali as the replacement of Umar, the all-rounders’ slot is now covered with Australian Ben Cutting and West Indies Keemo Paul.
Not just these, all teams will look to start the PSL on a winning note. This edition is the biggest tournament to take place since the 2008 Asia Cup and fans are ready to support their respective teams.