KARACHI: Shadab Khan is 18. He has a googly that almost no one picked.
Hasan Khan is 18. Sarfraz Ahmed often turns to him in the middle overs.
Usama Mir is 21. He took 12 wickets and held his nerves in a crunch last over to Shahid Afridi.
Hasan Ali is 23. He is one of Peshawar Zalmi’s key bowlers.
Rummas Raees is 26. He was arguably the best death-overs bowler of the lot.
Yasir Shah made a case to be included in the limited-overs sides with one of the tournament’s best economy rates.
Wahab Riaz starred for Peshawar Zalmi. Sohail Khan was the tournament’s top wicket-taker.
#CricketComesHome: And Lahore parties...
The Pakistan Super League is chockfull of success stories when it comes to local bowlers. The future of Pakistan, it seems, is in safe hands for now.
With the bat in hand, Kamran Akmal has rolled back the years to once again ask chief selector Inzamamul Haq what in God’s name he needs to do to get a recall that should have come a long time ago.
Babar Azam showed just why he is considered to be the next Pakistani great. He was top-scorer until Kamran decided to take matters into his own hands with a century in the play-off game against Karachi Kings.
Even Ahmad Shahzad, so troubled by disciplinary issues, has shown just what he is capable of when he applies himself.
With Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif out of the equation for now, and question marks hanging around former skipper Azhar’s Ali suitability for the shorter formats, these three may well be occupying the top three spots for Pakistan against the West Indies and in the Champions Trophy later this year.
PSL fever unites the nation
26-year-old Fakhar Zaman and 20-year-old Hussain Talat are no longer unknown commodities, announcing themselves with aggressive knocks.
In only its second season, the PSL has started to do what the board and the fans had been hoping it would do — unearth talent and provide a platform for those on the peripheries of the first team to make a case for selection.
Add to this the experience the youngsters are getting under their belts. In the UAE they rubbed shoulders with some of the finest cricketing talent around — both as teammates and as opponents. For the first time in their lives, they had to cope with the unique pressure that comes with playing in soldout stadiums while the whole world watches on their television sets, hardly a problem they face in Pakistan’s domestic circuit.
PSL final: Cricket mania grips Lahore
Then, for the people of Pakistan, there was the welcome distraction. The news in the country is hardly positive; an indictment of the media as much as it is of the times. Amid the wave of terrorist attacks and political mudslinging, the PSL gave the country something to be truly proud about. It gave them something to rally behind, it gave them the ups and downs that only sport can provide, it gave them a reason to smile and it gave them something to be truly passionate about.
Cricket, for better or for worse, is the only sport most of the country really cares about. But instead of caring only about the Pakistan team, the nation has enjoyed the games of all five teams. For once, the sport mattered more than the result. A soldout Lahore saw a final being played between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators.
The PSL has ended. It grew from last year. The matches were all competitive. The cricket was of the highest quality. The youngsters delivered. The crowd responded.
But, more important of all, it finally came home.
You were good to us PSL. Until next year.
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