Apart from last season where they finished fifth, Quetta Gladiators have been the most consistent team in the history of the tournament. In total, they have featured in three finals. In two of those Quetta finished second while eventually winning the trophy in 2019. This year they will be looking to return to winning ways. They have a seasoned captain in Sarfaraz Ahmed who has led them since the start of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

In the batting department, they have brought in Chris Gayle, Tom Banton and Cameron Delport in place of Shane Watson, Jason Roy and Ahmed Shehzad. Faf du Plessis will also join the squad later in the tournament and will replace Chris Gayle.

In the middle order, they will have the services of young Azam Khan, who has had a brilliant last year or so. Australia’s Ben Cutting had a good outing last time around and he will be looking to deliver the good this season along with Pakistan’s Anwar Ali.

Bowling was a major concern for the Gladiators last year. They were not able to take wickets and thus teams posted massive totals against them. They have recruited South Africa’s Dale Steyn to help the young pace attack of Muhammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah. Usman Shinwari has also been brought in. Zahid Mehmood who recently made his debut for Pakistan will be looking to make the most of his form and leave an impression with his leg-spin. He will be assisted by Muhammad Nawaz and Qais Ahmed.

Key Players

Chris Gayle

Though not available for the entire season, Quetta Gladiators have brought in Chris Gayle in place of Shane Watson who retired from cricket last year. Gayle was part of the first two editions of the tournament but couldn’t get going. He averages just 18.78 from his 14 matches in the PSL. But we all know what the big West Indian can do and Pakistan pitches will certainly help his free-flowing scoring game. Averaging more than 30 in all the T20 leagues around the world there is no questioning about the skill of this man and Quetta will certainly have a big advantage if he starts firing.

Muhammad Hasnain

One of the finds of the PSL in 2019, Muhammad Hasnain was the pick of the bowlers for Quetta in the last edition as well. He was the second-highest wicket-taker with 15. Though he gave away runs in a few games but it a pacer of his speed always is a great threat. He will get a chance to rub shoulders with Dale Steyn which will be beneficial for his development in the future.

Qais Ahmed

The leg-spinner from Afghanistan is featuring in the PSL for the first time. As we know that Sarfaraz Ahmed is a captain that loves to attack with his spinners there is no doubt that the Afghan spinner will be a part of the playing XI. Since 2018, he has bagged 51 wickets across various leagues and could turn out to be a trump card for the Gladiators. Overall he has 74 wickets in the tournament with an economy of 7.09.

On paper, Quetta Gladiators have assembled a very good squad but too many changes can be detrimental some times. It will be a real challenge for Sarfaraz and team management to find the best combinations and personnel. But if they are able to do so and execute their plans to perfection then ‘Purple Force’ will be hard to stop.

Quetta Gladiators squad for PSL 2021

Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Ben Cutting, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Azam Khan, Naseem Shah, Zahid Mahmood, Anwar Ali, Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Usman Shinwari, Cameron Delport, Qais Ahmad, Abdul Nasir, Saim Ayub, Arish Ali Khan, Dale Steyn and Usman Khan

The author is a feature writer at The Correspondent. He mainly lives in the shadows as a ghost writer so you may have read his work and not even known it. He can be reached at asadqasim@thecorrespondent.pk

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