The league round of Pakistan Super League 2020 culminated yesterday with Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi emerging as the top four teams of the competition. The semifinals will get underway soon and the fans are highly excited for the same. Just like IPL has helped India become a top team in international, Pakistan Cricket Board would have set the same targets in PSL.
The T20 World Cup 2020 is set to happen later this year and the No. 1 T20I team, Pakistan will look to win its win first ICC T20 World Cup trophy since 2009. Pakistan has a lot of talented players in its squad however, the team’s recent performances have not been up to the mark. They still need a few more T20 specialists in their team and there are several performers of PSL 2020 who can earn a place in Pakistan’s T20 World Cup squad.
Here are the five players:
1. Shan Masood
The star batsman of Multan Sultans, Shan Masood has never played a T20 international match for Pakistan. The 30-year-old player from Kuwait has represented Pakistan in Tests and ODIs with his last international appearance for the Men in Green being in the ICC World Test Championship match against Bangladesh.
Given how he has performed in PSL 2020 thus far, the selectors will have an eye on him and will look to give him a few chances in the T20I team ahead of the World Cup. Masood has played a key role in Multan’s success this year.
He was the team’s top scorer in the first round with 253 runs in 8 innings. Masood recorded one 50+ score with the bat but his consistency helped Multan top the points table.
2. Sohail Tanvir
Another local player of Multan Sultans who impressed in the league round of PSL 2020 was the left-arm pace bowler, Sohail Tanvir. The first-ever Purple Cap winner in IPL history, Tanvir has played 57 T20Is for Pakistan however, he has not been a part of the Pakistani T20I team since 2017.
Tanvir is a T20 specialist who has made a name for himself playing in the T20 leagues all around the world. In PSL 2020, Tanvir ended the league stage as the highest wicket-taker from Multan Sultans.
The 35-year-old bowler picked up 10 wickets in 7 innings with his best bowling figures being 4/13. A good performance in the knockout phase can help him earn a place in the T20 World Cup squad.
3. Kamran Akmal
The 37-year-old wicket-keeper batsman, Kamran Akmal is the favourite to earn a national call-up soon as his competitor, Mohammad Rizwan has majorly warmed the benches in PSL 2020. Akmal, on the other hand, has played a pivotal role in the success of Peshawar Zalmi. He was the team’s best batsman in the league round.
The right-handed batsman emerged as the first centurion of this competition with a fine knock of 101 runs against the Quetta Gladiators in Ranchi. He also played a knock of 43 runs in his team’s first match.
Although his performances have taken a dip as the tournament has progressed, Akmal can break into the T20 World Cup squad if he performs well for Peshawar Zalmi in the remaining games.
4. Wahab Riaz
Peshawar Zalmi’s best fast bowler, Wahab Riaz was an important member of the Pakistan team in the 2019 World Cup. However, the selectors dropped him from the team recently as he has not played a single international match for the Men in Green in 2020. Riaz is the captain of Peshawar in PSL 2020.
The left-arm pacer from Lahore has a ton of experience under his belt. He has played 252 T20 matches in his career, picking up 296 wickets with a magnificent economy rate of 7.15.
Talking about his numbers in PSL 2020, Riaz ended the league stage as the third-highest wicket-taker with 11 wickets in 9 innings. His best figures of 3/21 show that he has still got the fire in him to play for Pakistan once again.
5. Haider Ali
One of the most promising uncapped players of PSL 2020, Haider Ali is the wildcard in the race to grabbing a spot in the T20 World Cup squad of Pakistan. Haider is a 19-year-old batsman who hails from Attock. He has very little experience of playing T20 cricket but he has played multiple important innings in PSL this year.
Playing for Peshawar Zalmi, Ali has aggregated 239 runs in 9 innings with his highest score being 69. The right-handed batsman has a decent average of 29.87 in PSL 2020 while his strike rate is 158.27.
It will be interesting to see how he performs in the high-pressure semifinal match against Multan Sultans. If he manages to keep his cool and play a big inning in the knockout phase, he can earn a national call-up.