• 24 Feb - 02 Mar, 2018
  • Sohaib ALvi
  • Sports

Rocked by deeply embarrassing revelations for both sides when a leak showed that all but one franchise were defaulters – some massive – the PSL3 is set to unveil. Whether that leak was deliberate and meant to put public and sponsor pressure on the franchises or whether a capable reporter got wind of some documents is irrelevant now. The fact remains it worked and the PCB and franchises got together to discuss how to move forward. Ostensibly, most paid up but to what extent was not revealed. That will take another leak to bring it to the surface.

There is the sixth franchise. Multan Sultan, making its debut and they have already been double hurt. First when they were one of the franchises that hadn’t paid up whatever amount they were supposed to. And second, they lost their title sponsor even before they could announce it publicly. That sponsor withdrew after reconsideration almost overnight for valid reasons, I’m sure. But that left the Sultan’s empty by what was possibly the highest amount paid a team’s title sponsorship.

Nevertheless, all the owners have deep pockets and can sustain forgone revenue for a season or two. After all to the paying public, it’s what matters on the field than off it. And there it’s all about the players. So which side has the weight behind it going into Season 3? Let’s analyze the teams:


This may be a new team entering the competition but most of the players are all seasoned; in fact in the PSL itself. They first picked the players released by other franchises – Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard, Kumar Sangakkara, and Sohail Tanvir – and such is their confidence that they didn’t need to risk to pick Chris Gayle following his two horrid PSL seasons. In fact Shoaib Malik was the captain of Karachi Kings in the inaugural season, even though he stepped down before the final game when Karachi barely made it to the semi-finals of a five team event. Interestingly KK’s second season skipper, Sangakkara, also joined the Sultan’s.

Local boys Sohaib Maqsood and Mohammad Irfan step in with openers Ahmed Shahzad and Darren Bravo the other big names along with Imran Tahir, the sole specialist spinner.

They rely therefore on pace with Junaid Khan spearheading the attack along with international Mohammad Abbas. Both will benefit from Team Director Wasim Akram and coach Tom Moody who coached Sunrisers Hyderabad when they won the IPL two years back.


They are the title holders. Players to watch will be the openers Kamran Akmal and Tamim Iqbal. That promises to be a lethal left-right combination with both batsmen in good touch in their respective domestic outings. Tamim already has a good record in PSL with 361 runs in 11 games at an average of over 45 and a strike rate above 100.

They have the all-rounders Dwayne Bravo, Mohammad Hafeez (who can still bowl in domestic T20 leagues) and Shakib ul Hasan and the plucky Haris Sohail who might show up everyone when he’s played. Nevertheless, they lack in genuine pace department where Wahab Riaz has been a disappointment over the past year. Still he has 30 wickets from 19 games in PSL at an average of less than 15; but concedes almost 7 an over. With Hasan Ali carrying an ankle injury he will be under more pressure to perform alongside Chris Jordan. Their biggest plus will be the leadership of Darren Sammy.


They have had the misfortune of sinking to the bottom in both the previous seasons and have yet to play the semi-finals. Still their team for this season sparks hope especially in the pace department. The eyes will be on the 6’ 6” left armer Shaheen Shah Afridi who impressed with 7 wickets in the recent U19 World Cup. He will pair up with right armer Sohail Khan to form perhaps the most threatening opening pair in PSL. They also have the pairing of the classiest spin pair of Narine and Yasir Shah.

Interesting move is to appoint Fakhar Zaman as the vice-captain and potential successor to Brendon McCullum who has disappointed as a leader. There has been disenchantment too from the bad boy on the block Umar Akmal, who had a miserable Season 2 after a blistering Season 1. Not just handling him but new head coach Aaqib Javed is also entrusted with the rehabilitation of the wiry Hasan Raza (making his PSL debut after a drug ban).


Winners of the inaugural PSL, they lost their way last year and face challenging teams this year too. Their biggest setback in season 2 was the sending home of their openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif. United will therefore be relying on Luke Ronchi and Alex Hales and local sensation Sahibzada Farhan to deliver at the top.

Their main thrust, however, will come from the bowling where Rumman Raees, having been elevated to the vice captaincy will have greater impetus to follow up on a good tour of New Zealand. He will be backed up by paceman Steven Finn, all-rounders Shahdab Khan and Fahim Ashraf both of whom also had a profitable tour of New Zealand. They will be joined in this category by the foreigners Andre Russel, back after a one year ban by ICC and Jean Paul Duminy.

The man to watch out for will be Hussain Talat, the batsman who has excited whenever he has batted. And Misbah, on whether the 43-year old calls it a day after three seasons of captaincy.


One of two teams to have the same leader over three seasons the Gladiators are looking to have a hat-trick of final appearances and this time to win it. That it will be played in front of a home crowd is further incentive.

Sarfraz under him carries a squad boosted by transfer of Shane Watson from United. With Kevin Pietersen he forms a formidable pair of hitters. They are followed up by Riley Rossouw or Mahmudullah.

However, they lack in bowling firepower with mostly medium fast all-rounders in Watson, Anwar Ali and John Hastings. Specialist opening bowlers include the ambivalent Rahat Ali and the aging Ben Laughlin plus Chris Lewis. However watch out for Mir Hamza who can turn up some raw pace.

Sarfraz will struggle in the spin department with only Mohammad Nawaz to turn to as a specialist unless Asad Shafiq turns a few, which could prove costly.


Definitely one of the most marketed teams, Karachi Kings however has disappointed and yet to finish in the top 3. Even the induction of Shahid Afridi is seen more of a marketing strategy than a technical one, though his bowling and dangerous batting (often for both sides) does still have a role to play.

They have a new captain in Imad Wasim and it is to be seen how Pakistan’s T20 vice-captain uses his fast bowling attack comprising Mohammad Amir, Tabish Khan, Usama Mir, Usman Khan (if fit) and the left fast bowler from England Tymal Mills.

It seems one of the more balanced squads with the batting led by Babar Azam who admittedly has a lower average than his contemporary Lendl Simmons but at par with Eoin Morgan.

Biggest pressure however will be on all-rounders Imad and Bopara (who has a higher batting average than Babar and Morgan) to see them through.