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Feature

Breakout stars of PSL 2022: Zaman Khan, Mohammad Haris, Yasir Khan, and others

A look at the players who could be future stars for Pakistan

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
01-Mar-2022
Mohammad Haris hit four sixes in his 27-ball 49, Peshawar Zalmi vs Karachi Kings, PSL 2022, Lahore, February 13, 2022

Mohammad Haris announced himself with a 27-ball 49 on his PSL debut  •  PSL

Every season the PSL showcases emerging talent in Pakistan and the 2022 season was no different. Here's a look at some of the breakout stars of this edition.
Zaman Khan
A right-arm fast bowler, Zaman Khan was the only player from the emerging category to play all the games for his team in the season. He was first spotted in a Multan Sultans camp back in 2018. It led him to play for Pakistan Under-17 before he made a name playing for Rawalakot Hawks in the Kashmir Premier League last year.
He was the most sought-after player in the emerging category and Lahore Qalandars picked him at the first opportunity. He didn't disappoint them and finished third on the wickets tally with 18 scalps, behind only Shaheen Shah Afridi and Shadab Khan. Out of four maiden overs in the whole tournament, he bowled two.
Against Islamabad United, with 12 needed for a win, he conceded just three against Asif Ali and Azam Khan. His 4 for 16 against the Karachi Kings and two crucial middle-order wickets in the final against Multan Sultans made him a potential future star for the country.
Mohammad Haris
A dashing opener, Mohammad Haris announced himself with a match-winning 49 off 27 balls for Peshawar Zalmi against Kings on his PSL debut. He was drafted into the playing XI after the Karachi leg, replacing Zalmi's first-choice wicketkeeper-batter Kamran Akmal after he had tested positive for Covid-19. Such was Haris' impact that even when Akmal returned, Haris stayed in the XI.
He hit another match-winning 32-ball 70 against United to further stamp his authority and ended the season with 166 runs at a strike rate of 186.51, the highest by any top-order batter this PSL.
Yasir Khan
Yasir Khan, 19, hails from Bannu, a city in the southern part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but played cricket in Rawalpindi for five years. He shot into the spotlight for his stint playing Grade-2 cricket for KP 2nd XI after his run-feasts in city cricket for the Bannu region.
Opening the batting on his PSL debut he took many by surprise with his 12-ball 30 against Quetta Gladiators. Two games later he struck 35 off 24 balls from No. 3 against United. However, with Akmal returning to the side after recovering from Covid, Yasir got to play only one more game.
Salman Irshad
Salman Irshad is a product of the Lahore Qalandars development program, having come through their ranks in 2018. Though he made the Qalandars' squad for the 2020 season after replacing the injured Haris Rauf, he went unpicked in 2021 due to his poor form for Northern, giving away runs at an average of 33 and an economy rate of 9.90.
He appeared to be in a bit of a rut until Zalmi picked him ahead of this season, and Irshad repaid their faith in gold. Irshad signed off PSL 2022 with 15 crucial wickets, a strike rate of 12.80, and an average of 17.60. He was the team's leading wicket-taker, and the second-highest overall, finishing just five scalps behind Shaheen Shah Afridi's 20.
Irshad's career has followed a zig-zag trajectory so far, but having accounted for several dangerous batters this year like Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Alex Hales and Rilee Rossouw, his star is likely to shine brighter in upcoming seasons.
Qasim Akram
One of the most sought-after players from the Under-19 circuit, Qasim Akram, unfortunately, didn't make many appearances at the PSL this season due to his commitments at the Under-19 World Cup. Qasim, who captains the Pakistan Under-19 side, boasts a T20 strike rate of 152.04, even though he averages only 14.90 from 21 T20s.
Qasim was on Islamabad United's wishlist, and though they tried to get him on board, Kings used the right-to-match option to retain the allrounder. Qasim went on to make an impression in the game against United, scoring an unbeaten fifty to nearly drag Kings to victory. The five games he played this season weren't nearly enough to showcase his true talent, but the 19-year-old is all set to have more opportunities ahead.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent