Wisden’s Pakistan Junior League 2022 team of the tournament
Photo credit: Pakistan Junior League/Instagram
The first edition of the Pakistan Junior League showed plenty of talented young cricketers from all over the world, with Bahawalpur Royals taking home the trophy. Here is Wisden.com‘s team of the tournament.
L Benkenstein (Gwadar Sharks)
7 matches, 226 runs @ 37.66, SR: 156.94, HS: 74
After a decent performance in the first few matches of the competition, Benkenstein came into his own when his team needed to secure a top-of-the-table finish, and ease their path through the knockout rounds. He scored 74 off 46 balls in the Sharks’ final match of the league stage, before thrashing 71 off 37 to ease his side to victory in their Qualifier. Useful with the ball as well, the Essex player picked up two wickets in his first match of the tournament with his part-time leg breaks.
Basit Ali (Bahawalpur Royals)
8 matches, 379 runs @ 63.16, SR: 150.39, HS: 102*
Ali has been the stand-out batter of this year’s competition, with a phenomenal average and strike rate. His century, the only of the tournament came from just 58 balls against the Gujranwala Giants. No other player in his side made more than 20 in that match, showing just how incredible the innings was. He nearly repeated the feat in the Qualifier match, blasting an unbeaten 91 off 55 balls as the Bahawalpur Royals chased down 132 with five overs to spare.
Shawaiz Irfan – WK (Bahawalpur Royals)
7 matches, 183 runs @ 36.60, SR: 161.94, HS: 58*
After a quiet start to the tournament, Irfan smashed an unbeaten 51 off 30 balls against the Gwadar Sharks in his fourth match as his side cruised to victory. Able to act as both anchor and aggressor in his role at No.3, he came into his own in the tournament final, unleashing an awesome attack again on the Sharks bowlers, bashing 79 off 32 balls to take the Raiders to an enormous total of 225-3, eventually winning the trophy.
Uzair Mumtaz (Gujranwala Giants)
5 matches, 150 runs @ 37.50, SR: 118.11, HS: 56*
At No.4 Mumtaz is a stable presence in the side. He scored two fifties in the competition, including a sterling, unbeaten effort alongside Shevon Daniel, with whom he shared a century stand to take the Gujranwala Giants to victory over the Rawalpindi Raiders. He had previously scored the first fifty of the tournament in what turned out to be a losing cause against the Mardan Warriors.
Shevon Daniel (Gujranwala Giants)
5 matches, 176 runs @ 44.00, SR: 127.53, HS: 81
Sri Lanka 18-year-old Daniel is a powerful middle-order batter and handy right-arm off-break bowler. His best performance in the competition came against Bahawalpur Royals where he crashed 81 off 51 deliveries, digging his team out of a hole at 21-4. That innings was Daniel’s second fifty of the competition, his first coming in the partnership he shared with Mumtaz against the Rawalpindi Raiders, helping his side chase down 128 to win.
Arafat Minhas (Gwadar Sharks)
7 matches, 178 runs @ 35.60, SR: 130.88, HS: 40*
9 wickets @ 17.66, Econ: 6.91, BBI: 4-13
A proper all-rounder, Minhas’s performances in particularly the first three rounds of the competition showed his considerable value in both the batting and bowling departments to the Gwadar Sharks. Coming off the back of two scores of 40, Minhas racked up 37 off 30 balls to help his side reach a reasonable total against the Gujranwala Giants, before taking four wickets in the second innings. He wasn’t able to repeat his success in the final, however, failing to take a wicket and being dismissed for 19 as the Gawadar Sharks had to settle for second place.
Afnan Khan (Rawalpindi Raiders)
6 matches, 9 wickets @ 12.22, Econ: 5.00, BBI: 3-7
5 innings, 33 runs @ 8.25, SR: 132.00, HS: 21*
The best of the leggies, Khan hit the ground running, taking three wickets on his tournament debut, dismissing all three of the Shark’s top-order batters in what turned out to be a losing cause. He took 3-7 to ensure his side beat the Hunters on DLS, before recording slightly more modest returns for the final matches of the Rawalpindi Raiders’ campaign.
Arham Nawab (Bahawalpur Royals)
8 matches, 11 wickets @ 18.45, Econ: 6.34, BBI: 3-15
Nawab’s best performance was also his first. He took 3-15 against the Hyderabad Hunters first up and consistently took wickets across the competitions. The right-arm off-break bowler also made an impact in the Bahawalpur Royal’s victory in the final against the Sharks, taking the penultimate wicket of the tournament.
Mohammad Ibtisam (Gujranwala Giants)
5 matches, 8 wickets @ 15.25, Econ: 6.31, BBI: 3-23
A key force at the death for the Gujranwala Giants, Ibtisam enjoyed a profitable tournament even if his side struggled in the first half of fixtures. After the Giants lost three matches on the bounce, Ibtisam took 3-23 and 2-17 in their final two fixtures to ensure they didn’t finish bottom of the table.
Abidullah (Mardan Warriors)
6 matches, 9 wickets @ 17.77, Econ: 6.66, BBI: 3-17
A consistent performer for the Mardan Warriors, Abidullah picked up a wicket in every match he played in the competition, saving the best until last with 3-17 against the Rawalpindi Raiders. Bowling with discipline, his performance in the eliminator was key to getting his side all the way to the second Qualifier.
Mohammad Zeeshan (Bahawalpur Royals)
8 matches, 14 wickets @ 14.36, Econ: 7.07, BBI: 3-27
A consistent performer across the whole competition, the 16-year-old right-arm seamer looks like a promising talent. Good at the death and with a knack for taking wickets at key times, he has operated as part of a successful bowling unit at the Royals. In the tournament final, he dismissed Shamyl Hussain for 67 to break the back of the Gwadar Shark’s chase, going on to take his tournament-best figures and take his side to victory.