Six uncapped Pakistan Super League quicks to get very excited about
The Pakistan Super League is into its eighth season and has developed into one of the most high profile T20 franchise leagues around the world.
As with other franchise leagues, the careers of some of the most exciting international cricketers have been launched in the PSL – but what it does better than almost any other competition is discover young fast-bowlers. The likes of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Mohammed Hasnain and Naseem Shah were given a global platform in the PSL to display their skills at the start of their careers.
So who are some of the lesser known uncapped fast bowlers in this season of the PSL who might be next to take the international game by storm?
Whenever a genuine quick emerges, the excitement is felt around the cricketing world. The hype around Ihsanullah started as soon as he bowled his first ball in this year’s competition. He is currently the top wicket-taker in the competition so far with 12 scalps in the five matches he has played and looks like a rare talent. On commentary, Mark Butcher revealed Ihsanullah is so new to top flight cricket that he knows little of fielding positions and other aspects of the professional game but when he has a cricket ball in his hand he has proved to be lethal. Even if by complete accident, there is smart to accompany his speed which was on show when he went for just 17 in his four overs against Karachi Kings in a game that produced 389 runs.
He has even challenged fellow speedster, Indian quick Umram Malik, saying: “I will try to bowl faster than that.” Before declaring he was aiming to reach 160 kph, it cannot be long before we see him fast-tracked into the international game.
The 21-year-old is another quick bowler, and represents the Lahore Qalandars. He enjoyed a breakthrough season for last year’s PSL champions taking 18 wickets. Only Shaheen and Shadab Khan took more during last year’s campaign. While he only has two wickets so far this season, another solid season under the captaincy of Shaheen should help his development. Recently he said his pace did not really matter to him much and came naturally. Khan is another who was compared to Umran Malik as they both broke into their respective franchise leagues through their pace.
His form in last year’s competition earned him an opportunity at the Bangladesh Premier League for the Jaffna Kings, he took a wicket in all but one of his five appearances.
Multan Sultan’s fast bowling ranks are well stocked and Afridi sits second in the highest wicket-takers of this season so far. The name Afridi has been made iconic in Pakistan cricket thanks to Shaheen and Shahid, Abbas might add another to that list if he can continue to develop. He is another youngster at only 21.
He showed he had more than just speed in the final over of last night’s game, recovering from a no-ball six, two wides and getting hit for another six to defend 22. The equation got down to six needed off four before Afridi closed out the game for his team.
Peshawar Zalmi’s Irshad has a unique action, the angle of his arm when he releases the ball is reminiscent of Lasith Malinga. He enjoyed a good season last year, taking 15 wickets in just eight games. He is a little older at 27 but has only played 38 T20 matches and taken 45 wickets. He was given an opportunity in the BPL as well, representing the Dhaka Dominators for five games this season.
His action alone is something to look out for but he also has a knack of taking important wickets, Shan Masood and Rilee Rossouw were two of his victims in his last game.
Another of Multan’s pace battery is their most experienced home-grown seamer with the loss of Shahnawaz Dahani to injury. Ilyas has played in the tournament since 2019 and sits on the all-time wicket-takers list in PSL history with 28 wickets. Despite also being without Josh Little for this season, Multan have a highly entertaining fast-bowling attack and Ilyas is a part of this.
While Ilyas lacks the express pace of the others on this list, his control and movement makes him a good wicket-taking option in T20 cricket.
Little to no experience but when he does play has all the raw materials to be yet another fantastic prospect for Pakistan’s fast bowling ranks. In just his second PSL game, he produced a ripper to jump off a length and take the edge of Pakistan captain Babar Azam – a handy wicket to open your account with. He did take a five-wicket haul for the U19 team against India in 2021 which included bowling Indian captain Yash Dull, who already has four first-class centuries.
His bowling prompted Ian Bishop to tweet: “Wow. Young Zeeshan Zameer has some serious wheels man. To get Babar with that is special.” Pakistan have never shied away from promoting young bowlers and if he can stay injury-free then Zameer will surely be another they choose early.