Multan Sultans were by far the most dominant team in the last season of the Pakistan Super League. They ended the group stage at the top of the table with six wins and two losses but due to COVID-19 break and loss of their key international players thy could not make it to the final.

This time around they are looking to go all the way and employed the services of Chris Lynn from Australia. James Vince is anther one who is in red hot form and finished the Big Bash Leagueas the second highest run scorer. Rizwan has come in to the side as captain. Shan Masood, Rile Rossouw, Sohaib Maqood and Khushdil Shah will make the rest of the batting line up.

An issue that might be under consideration for team management would be the batting order. Lynn, Vince, Lyth, Rizwan, Masood are all opener so it will be hard for to find the best slots for them.

Last year, their pace attack was one-dimensional with three left-arm pacers. They have brought in experienced Sohail Khan in place of Muhamamd Irfan while Junaid Khan is no longer part of the squad. Sultans have an experienced but an ageing bowling attack. Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir are in their 40’s while Sohail Tanvir is 36. This can be an issue going later in the tournament when crunch games come.

Key Players

Chris Lynn

Chris Lynn is one of the most hard hitting batsmen going around and was Multan Sultan’s first pick in the draft. He had a great season with Lahore Qalandar last year and score 284 runs with a strike rate of 179.74. He averaged 40.57 with highest score of 113*.

In the recent Big Bash League, the Brisbane Heat skipper enjoyed a fairly middling campaign, suffering an early hamstring problem that briefly ruled him out of proceedings. Either side of that niggle, he made five half-centuries at a typically belligerent strike rate of 154.72, smashing 26 sixes in the process.

Muhammad Rizwan

Pakistan’s wicket keeper batsmen has been appointed as the captain of franchise for the upcoming season. The 28-year-old has taken his game to another level in the recent past and is currently a run machine in all formats of the game. In the recently concluded T20I series against South Africa, Rizwan accumulated 197 runs in the three-match series with scores of 104*, 51 and 42. There is no doubt over his captaincy skills as he led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the domestic T20 title. His batting position might be an issue but he is adaptable and won’t shy away from any role the management gives him.

But Rizwan is nothing if not adaptable, and his glovework alone make him a tremendous piece of business at last month’s draft. With a plethora of wrist-spinners in Flower’s ranks, the Pakistan wicketkeeper will have a greater impact behind the stumps than most. Needless to say, Imran Tahir, Usman Qadir and Shahid Afridi will be most grateful for his presence.

Usman Qadir

The leg-spinner joined Multan Sultans last year as a silver pick but couldn’t get many chances with the experienced duo of Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir who have taken 726 wickets among them. But now with international experience on his back, he is definitely going to get more chances and in the games, he has represented Pakistan in he surely has shown glimpses of what he can do. Following in the footsteps of his late father, Abdul Qadir, and retained in January in the gold bracket which is a testament to his burgeoning reputation.

On the surface, Rizwan’s treatment by Karachi Kings last year appears almost negligent. He played just twice despite his credentials with bat and gloves, but it is difficult to be too critical of the eventual champions. It will be interesting to see how he captains this team and works in a data-driven environment, which was championed by last year’s skipper Masood, who took Multan to the top of the league table.

Multan certainly have a very good squad and if they can get their combinations right in the start we can witness the same bulldozing of team that we saw last year.

Squad

Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir, James Vince, Khushdil Shah, Rilee Rossouw, Shan Masood, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir, Chris Lynn, Sohail Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Carlos Brathwaite, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohaib Ullah, Adam Lyth, Shahnawaz Dhani, Muhammad Umar, Imran Khan Sr.

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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