Lahore Qalandars has been the most popular franchise among the masses since the inception of Pakistan Super League (PSL) but their performances have been quite mediocre, to say the least. Ending the season at the bottom of the table in the first four seasons, their fans had to endure a lot but that changed last year with the team making it to the finals of the last year’s tournament.
They have lost Chris Lynn who had a prolific PSL last year. Joe Denly and Tom Abell have been drafted to give the firepower at the top but it will be difficult to emulate what Lynn can and has done in the past. They have plenty of hard-hitting batsmen in the shape of Fakhar Zaman, David Wiese, Ben Dunk and Samit Patel. However, they are all one-dimensional players and we have seen that when the going gets a bit tough, Qalandars do tend to struggle in batting. It is all good when they have to score briskly but tend to lose the plot when they have to stay at the wicket and take the game deep. This could be a problem.
Their bowling attack is the strongest in the league with likes of Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi and Dilbar Hussain. The trio picked up 17, 14 and 10 wickets respectively in PSL 5. Their spin attack was a bit of a problem as they had to make do with Muhammad Hafeez and Samit Patel. They have bolstered it with the recruitment of Rashid Khan but if he is not there for the entirity of the season thn it will create a huge issue for the franchise.
There are question marks on Sohail Akhtar’s captaincy as he has been found wanting in crunch situations. It will be interesting to see how he martial his troops on the field.
Afghanistan’s superstar is arguably the hottest commodity going around in world cricket right now. He was named as the ICC T20 cricketer of the decade in 2020. With 343 wickets to his name already, he will definitely give a new dimension to Lahore Qalandars attack. In addition to this, his batting has also improved drastically which will give more depth to Lahore. However, there is a doubt over his availability for the complete season due to his national team commitment but if he is available for the whole season he will surely trouble the opposition batsmen.
The Professor has been in the form of his life lately and finished 2020 as the leading Twenty20 Internationals run-scorer with 415 runs. Overall he amassed 1,005 runs across all forms of T20 cricket and is among only five batsmen who finished last year with over 1,000 runs. Qalandars will be hoping that he continues his rich form in this season as well. Batting in the middle order, Hafeez has the ability and experience to hold one end and even go berserk if the team needs it. Adept at playing both spin and pace bowling, he will certainly a vital cog if Qalandar are going to lift the trophy.
The newly appointed vice-captain of the franchise finished the 2020 edition of PSL as the leading wicket-taker with 17 scalps. The left arm pacer had a brilliant year for Pakistan across all formats. His has been mighty effective with the new ball, troubling the batsmen with his line and swing. And he has been difficult to get away in the death overs as well.
With the core of team retained from last year, Lahore certainly have the fire power and skills to go all the way in the sixth edition. With the playoffs to be played in Lahore, they will be hoping to win the trophy on their home ground.
Squad: Ben Dunk, David Wiese, Dilbar Hussain, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sohail Akhtar, Rashid Khan, Joe Denly, Samit Patel, Tom Abell, Zeeshan Ashraf, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Faizan, Maaz Khan, Zaid Alam, Ahmed Danyal