The fourth edition of Pakistan Super League is scheduled to take place from February 14 to March 17th next year which is going to be more exciting, thrilling and entertaining as all the six teams are gearing up to show their strength in the upcoming season of the league.
But it is too early to predict who will become the champion of PSL 2019. As in the last season, we witnessed many standout moments which turned the wheels of fortune for the teams.
One major factor that proved to be the difference between the teams last season was that many of their players had not played in the UAE conditions in the past.
The six franchises selected a balanced squad with local and international players. The franchises preferred to select those international stars this time around who will visit Pakistan to play the eight scheduled games in the country. But will dropping the star players make any difference?
One of the most followed franchises of PSL, Karachi Kings, have made the finest decision by taking ‘Sultan of Swing’ Wasim Akram on board as the team director of the team.
Karachi Kings have gone for a number of all-rounders, which include both local talent and foreigners.
The side is led by Pakistan’s promising all-rounder Imad Wasim who had taken the charge as the skipper of the Kings in the previous season. He will have high hopes to give his best in the upcoming season. The southpaw had made an exceptional comeback in international cricket and in ongoing National T20 Cup.
Moreover, the No. 1 T20I batsman Babar Azam cannot be overlooked who is also retained by Karachi Kings and can be the nightmare for any bowling side. The duo of Pakistan’s ace fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and the spearhead Usman Shinwari can haunt any batting line of the world.
In the last three seasons, Karachi Kings were unlucky to not to reach to the finals. However, this time the squad looks fairly balanced with powerful batting line in the likes of Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, and Sikander Raza. Whereas, the bowling line looks much competent with Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, Imad Wasim and Aaron Summers in the arsenal.
On the other hand, Quetta Gladiators once again look like slightly weaker side as they will miss their veteran batsman Kevin Petersen. But, do not write them off, the way they have performed in the last three seasons was way beyond anyone’s expectations. They have undoubtedly been one of the most consistent sides of the tournament so far.
Gladiators had an excellent start in PSL 3 but unfortunately couldn’t make it to the finals.
Interestingly, the defending champions Islamabad United have faced a set back when Misbah-ul-Haq who led IU in all three seasons joined Peshawar Zalmi after an official statement released by the franchise in which they mentioned that Misbah will not be a part of the franchise as an active player. He was offered a non-playing role by the franchise but he wished to stay in the players’ draft.
In the previous season, Misbah suffered an injury, which gave their young vice-captain, Rumman Raees a chance to showcase his leadership skills. Unfortunately, Raees also suffered an injury during a match, which ruled him out of the tournament. As a result, JP Duminy was given the charge of the team.
As Lahore Qalandars was the first one to pick in the platinum category, they picked the solid players like South African star AB Devilliers, Mohammad Hafeez, Corey Anderson, and Haris Sohail.
Qalandars have been unlucky in the last three seasons, despite numerous efforts and star-studded squad, they were the first team to be knocked out of the tournament in all three seasons. They will hope for a better fate with more match-winners in their ranks.
Peshawar Zalmi who won the second edition of PSL, have more match-winners than any other team as two most experienced players Darren Sammy and Misbah Ul Haq will be seen in the yellow jersey. Zalmi have been consistent and threatening for all the team of the tournament. With the flamboyance of Sammy and calmness of Misbah, they will be a force to reckon.
Last but not the least, the unnamed ‘sixth team’ who is initially managed by the board, after Multan Sultans’ contract got terminated by the Pakistan Cricket Board, picked a dynamic duo in the platinum category former Australian skipper Steve Smith and the veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi, with Shoaib Malik already retained. The team undoubtedly looks impressive, they have got what it takes for a team to life the gold.
The fourth edition of Pakistan Super League will definitely be a mouth-watering one as all six franchises picked the best possible team.