Quetta Gladiators star spinner Sunil Narine set to miss start of PSL 2019 due to injury

Waseem Ahmed 12/02/2019
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Sunil Narine.

Ace West Indies spinner Sunil Narine is set to miss the start of upcoming Pakistan Super League due to a finger injury.

Cricbuzz reported that Quetta Gladiators spinner Narine aggravated the injury during the Bangladesh Premier League. Also, the mystery spinner’s participation in PSL 4 will be decided after a medical examination.

Narine was brought in by Quetta from Lahore Qalandars in a pre-season trade.

“Obviously, you cannot get a like-for-like replacement of a big player like Narine but we have drafted (Somerset leg-spinner Max) Waller and we are confident that he will add value to our team,” Quetta coach Moin Khan was quoted as saying.

“It’s a blow just before the start of PSL but we will try to cope with it. We have got the depth in our squad as there are other match-winners. We wish Narine a quick recovery and hope to welcome him very soon.”

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PSL 2019 Team Profile: Peshawar Zalmi out to prove their might

Waseem Ahmed 12/02/2019
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Peshawar Zalmi won the PSL title in 2017.

Just few days remain for the fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and we can’t wait for it.

As fans gear up for another thrilling season, we profile the Peshawar Zalmi franchise who emerged as PSL champions in the 2017 edition.

Squad

Darren Sammy (c), Kamran Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Sameen Gul, Khalid Usman, Umaid Asif, Liam Dawson, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kieron Pollard, Dawid Malan, Umar Amin, Sohaib Maqsood, Wayne Madsen, Nabi Gul, Jamal Anwar, Chris Jordan, Ibtisam Sheikh, Samiullah, Waqar Salamkheil.

Skipper – Darren Sammy

Having led the team in the past two editions including the title-winning campaign in 2017, it is once again West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy who takes charge. Sammy is a fan-favourite to boot too with his personal mission to bring international cricket back to Pakistan.

Past performances

After Islamabad United, there is no team that has been as successful as Peshawar in the PSL. The franchise narrowly missed out on making the final in the inaugural edition and followed up their 2017 title with a runners-up finish last season.

Coach – Mohammad Akram

The former Pakistan pacer and now British citizen will once be in the dugout for Peshawar this season. Akram has played nine Tests and 23 ODIs for the country and was formerly the bowling coach of the Pakistan team.

Key players – Sammy, Wahab Riaz, Kieron Pollard, Hasan Ali

Pollard is a proven T20 match-winner on his day.

Pollard is a proven T20 match-winner on his day.

Strengths

In Wahab Riaz, Peshawar have the highest wicket-taker in PSL history. With Pakistan’s Hasan Ali also in fray, they have an excellent pace attack which has plenty of experience. The all-rounders in Pollard and Chris Jordan could provide some excellent balance too to the side.

Weakness

Their batting at the top can be a cause of worry for Peshawar. Misbah-ul-Haq brings plenty of experience but there is a shortage of explosive batsmen up the order for the franchise and that could cost them dear.

Prediction – Final

Having been one of the most consistent franchise over the past three years, it will be no surprise if Peshawar make their third final in a row. They have the players who have done it for them before with the side retaining the core of the team from the past two editions.

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PSL 2019 Dream XI: Lahore Qalandars' AB De Villiers and five Pakistanis make cut

Chris Bailey 12/02/2019
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We’re excited for PSL 2019. So excited in fact that we’ve compiled the best team possible from all six franchises (if the foreign player cap was thrown out of the window).

From AB De Villiers to a star Pakistani bowling trio, all bases seem to be covered. Take a look at our dream team to help while away the minutes as Thursday’s opener between champions Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars draws ever closer.

Kamran Akmal (wk) – Peshawar Zalmi

Who better to start with than the PSL’s top run-scorer of all time? The firecracker of a batsman only needs 71 runs to become the first man to reach 1,000 runs in the competition.

What’s more, Akmal has scored two of just three PSL centuries to have been scored so far – Sharjeel Khan having hit the first one in 2016 for Islamabad United.

The former Pakistan wicket-keeper’s strike-rate of 133, as an opener no less, is fearsome indeed. There should be no debate about this selection.

Colin Munro – Karachi Kings

Munro will miss the first week due to his exertions with New Zealand, but he should be worth the wait for Karachi.

It’s been a long wait – Blackcaps duty held him out of PSL 3 in its entirety. It was with the Kiwis last week that the lusty left-hander showed exactly what he can do in the T20 series decider against India, thrashing 72 off just 40 balls.

The 31-year-old, owner of three T20I centuries, is the ultimate feast-or-famine player and for some reason he can’t get it together in ODIs. For sheer talent alone, though, he is deservedly one of the PSL’s star attractions.

AB De Villiers – Lahore Qalandars

Talking of star attractions, they don’t get much brighter than AB. It speaks of the PSL’s rise that the South Africa master blaster turned gun-for-hire has made his way to the UAE for the first time to take part.

He has touched down in the Emirates off the back of some stellar form in the Bangladesh Premier League, scoring an unbeaten century in an electric campaign with the Rangpur Riders. Currently on 47, he could well reach his half-century of T20 half-centuries with the Qalandars.

Babar Azam – Karachi Kings

We’ve already got the best Pakistani batsman from last year’s edition, so why not throw in the second-best, too?

Babar Azam smacked 402 runs for an average of 40 in 2018 and he has moved from strength to strength with Pakistan in the intervening months.

The right-hander is perhaps the most dependable batsman at the tournament, never once failing to score double figures in the ODI and T20 series against South Africa in what was a miserable tour for Paksitan.

Only 24, he can further cement his legacy with Karachi here.

Shane Watson – Quetta Gladiators

There’s life in the old dog yet. Watson is showing no signs of wilting in Twenty20 cricket at the age of 37 and only last month smashed a century for Sydney Thunder – whom he captains – in the BBL against Melbourne Heat.

He’s far less likely to bowl nowadays, but all the energy saved goes into his batting. He bludgeoned 22 sixes for Quetta last season and finished among the top five run-getters.

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Kieron Pollard – Peshawar Zalmi

Pollard has moved onto his third PSL team after stints with the Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans. Peshawar Zalmi have been a model of consistency over the years, reaching two from three possible finals, and there’s no one knows T20 quite like Pollard.

He is a veteran of an astonishing 446 games in the format and while his numbers haven’t quite matched up to his legendary status over the last 18 months or so, his potential to go big is, well … big.

With a strike rate of around 150, we’ll certainly take that in the middle-order.

Andre Russell – Multan Sultans

Sparks would fly in this make-believe team if Shahid Afridi and Russell hit it off the same time.

When there’s five or so overs left there’s arguably no better man to arrive at the crease. Take his unbeaten 40 from 19 balls just last week for Dhaka Dynamites, a knock that helped them surge into the BPL final at the expense of Rangpur.

With ball in hand, the 30-year-old is also a constant danger with his prickly pace.

Sunil Narine – Quetta Gladiators

And here we complete our West Indian trio. It’s a little odd to see him bat this far down but, given the nature of this team, he can afford to shelve the bat every now and then.

What we really want to use him for is his spin, with which he constantly puts batsmen in a whirl thanks to his bottomless bag of variations.

With an economy rate of just 5.96 – unheard of in T20 cricket – Narine has the power to clamp down on any batsman.

Unfortunately he is set to miss the start of the PSL due to a finger injury – Quetta will be crossing their fingers for his swift return.

Shadab Khan – Islamabad United

The fearless 20-year-old first came to international prominence in the PSL two years ago, where his teenage exuberance saw him star with bat, ball and occasionally both for Islamabad United.

His leg-spin control is extremely – perhaps uniquely – rare in one so young and don’t forget that his performance in last year’s final, compiling figures of 3-25, stunted Peshawar’s innings before his side’s batting did the rest.

Faheem Ashraf – Islamabad United

Faheem took a wicket for every 13.3 balls with Islamabad in last year’s edition. That’s pretty good – so why break up his tandem with Shadab?

He has not been in stunning form for Pakistan, yet his medium pacers are surely to be niggly once more on UAE pitches. At No.8, no other seam bowler ranks higher than the 25-year-old in the T20I ICC rankings and what he lacks in pace, he makes up for in understanding line and length.

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Wahab Riaz – Peshawar Zalmi

Riaz has long fallen out of favour with Pakstani selectors but Peshawar Zalmi know his value all too well.

The joint-highest wicket-taker alongside Faheem in last year’s tournament with 18, that the left-arm pacer managed to do this at an economy of 6.90 shows that he can be consistent – which he hasn’t been much of his international career – on his day.

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