PSL 4: Lahore Qalandars Preview
LAST SEASON'S PERFORMANCE
Lahore Qalandars have ridiculously been the most consistent team of the Pakistan Super League across its first three editions, somehow managing to be at the bottom of the table in every season. With a winning percentage of as low as 30%, having won only 8 matches out of 26 across the 3 seasons, Qalandars haven't done justice with themselves and their fans. Despite very ordinary performances, Qalandars have had some breakthrough stars in the form of Zafar Gohar, Fakhar Zaman and Shaheen Shah Afridi, with the latter two going on to become mainstays in the Pakistan national team. Middle-order batsman Umar Akmal finished the inaugural edition as the leading run-scorer, but couldn't see his team through to the playoffs.
Captaincy has been a major issue for Qalandars. Both Azhar Ali (2016) and Brendon McCullum (2017-18) lacked a proper plan and weren't able to inspire and lead their team from the front, performing below par with the bat and as captains. Having finished at the bottom of the table in all three seasons, Lahore Qalandars have the worst winning percentage (30%) amongst all the teams.
Before the PSL 4 draft, Brendon McCullum announced that he had parted ways with Lahore Qalandars and will no longer be a part of the franchise.
Qalandars announced that they will be retaining their kit from the previous season and announced experienced all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez as their captain for PSL 4, a decision which took many fans by surprise as they were expecting former vice-captain Fakhar Zaman to lead the team.
According to the rules, teams could retain a maximum of 13 players across all the categories. 3 from Platinum, 3 from Diamond, 2 from Gold, 4 from Silver and 1 from Emerging. Lahore Qalandars’ retentions were:
Platinum: Fakhar Zaman
Diamond: Yasir Shah
Gold: Anton Devcich and Rahat Ali
Silver: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Akhtar, Hassan Khan and Agha Salman
The Draft for the 2019 season of PSL was held at 20th November 2018 in Islamabad. Each team had to complete their main squad of 16 players, in addition to a maximum of four supplementary players. Lahore Qalandars, having retained 8 players, needed to pick 2 players each in the Platinum Category and Diamond Category, 1 in Gold, 1 in Silver and 2 in the Emerging Category apart from the supplementary picks.
In the Platinum round, Lahore Qalandars hit the jackpot by picking most sought-after South African star batsman AB de Villiers, along with Pakistani veteran all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez, who they later announced would lead the side.
In the Diamond round, Qalandars picked the star of the 2016 World T20 final, Carlos Brathwaite, and Kiwi all-rounder Corey Anderson. The all-rounder duo joined Yasir Shah, who was retained.
The only vacant spot in the Gold category was filled by Nepalese star leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who in the recent past has become a hot pick in T20 leagues around the world, having played the BBL, BPL, CPL and IPL in the last 12 months.
In the Silver Category, Qalandars picked classy left handed batsman Haris Sohail, who could fit in as an anchor in the team full of explosive T20 batsmen.
In the emerging category, Qalandars picked all-rounder Mohammad Imran and wicket-keeper batsman Umair Masood.
In the supplementary category, the players drafted were Zimbabwean wicket-keeper Brendan Taylor, veteran fast bowler Aizaz Cheema, wicketkeeper Gauhar Ali and Harris Rauf, who was scouted in Qalandars Player Development Program (PDP).
Lahore Qalandars picked middle-order batsman Saad Ali as their 21st pick. In the replacement draft, Lahore Qalandars picked Hardus Viljoen and David Wiese who were brought in to cover for the partial availability of AB de Villiers, Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson.
SQUAD for 2019
Batsmen: AB de Villiers (South Africa), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Anton Devcich (New Zealand) and Saad Ali.
All-rounders: Mohammad Hafeez, Corey Anderson (New Zealand), Carlos Brathwaite (Windies), Agha Salman, Sohail Akhtar, Mohammad Imran, David Wiese (South Africa) and Hardus Viljoen (South Africa). Wicket-keepers: Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe), Gauhar Ali and Umair Masood.
Fast-bowlers: Rahat Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Harris Rauf and Aizaz Cheema.
Spinners: Yasir Shah, Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal) and Hasan Khan.
Best Possible XI:
Anton Devcich (New Zealand)
Agha Salman/Haris Sohail
AB de Villiers (South Africa)
Mohammad Hafeez (c)
Corey Anderson (New Zealand)
Umair Masood (wk & emg)
Sohail Akhtar/Carlos Brathwaite (Windies)
Shaheen Shah Afridi
Written by Uman Naq
You can find out more about him on his Twitter profile here.