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Feature

PSL's emerging talent - The future stars that franchises signed, and the ones that got away

All the playing XIs at the PSL are required to have an emerging player - that's worked well for Pakistan cricket

Umar Farooq
Umar Farooq
01-Feb-2022
Qasim Akram guides the ball towards point, Potchefstroom, February 4, 2020

Qasim Akram will link up with Karachi Kings after the Under-19 World Cup  •  ICC via Getty

At the PSL, the franchises are required to field at least one emerging player in their XIs. That has led to quite a few new faces coming to the fore over the years. With the 2022 edition of the PSL on, ESPNcricinfo spoke to some of the franchises, asking them about their plans vis-à-vis emerging players and, also, to identify one young player from another team that they wish they had.

Islamabad United

Pakistan Under-19 captain Qasim Akram, whose T20 strike rate is 152.04, even though he averages only 14.90 in 21 T20s. He was in Islamabad's wishlist, and though they tried to get him on board, Karachi Kings used the right-to-match option to retain the allrounder. Qasim will be available only for the league this season, because of his engagements with the Under-19 team at the ongoing World Cup.
Why: "He is a truly modern cricketer. He can bat across the batting order and can form a great combination with Shadab [Khan] as a legspinner. He is a gun fielder too, and basically an ideal T20 player."
In the squad: Islamabad went on to pick another emerging player, from Rawalpindi, the offspinning-allrounder Mubasir Khan. As their second pick, they got top-order batter Mohammad Huraira, the second-youngest to score a first-class triple century in Pakistan.

Lahore Qalandars

Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, who they targeted in the draft, but he went to Quetta Gladiators.
Why? "He is exceptionally talented and one of the few technically correct batters in Pakistan at this level. Since he wasn't meant to be available for the entire PSL, we didn't go for him in our first pick, but we definitely wanted him. He scored a double-hundred in first-class cricket and is a proper batter who can go a long way. We wanted to be part of his development and help him grow."
In the squad: Zaman Khan, a right-arm fast bowler with a low-slung action, made a name last year in the Kashmir Premier League, playing for Rawalakot Hawks. Qalandars also have Maaz Khan, a legspinner, for the second successive season.

Quetta Gladiators

They got who they wanted - Bangalzai. It was a "pretty straightforward decision," they said.
"He was definitely our prime target. His performances in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and National T20 Cup were solid, his basics are strong, and even against pacer he is really strong. There is a strike-rate issue but that is something he can work on, as he is still young and developing. When a boy is coming up through a proper process and doing well, it's an easy pick. Also, he belongs to Balochistan, and we definitely would like to elevate a talent from the region. So we have achieved what we wanted to and also picked up another emerging player, Khurram Shehzad, in the silver category."
In the squad: Abdul Wahid Bangalzai and Ashir Qureshi, a legspinner of promise.

Multan Sultans

Zaman Khan. Multan had him on their radar in 2018, and the quick bowler with a slingy action was later drafted into Pakistan's Under-17 circuit, before making his way to the Kashmir Premier League last year.
Why? "We got our targets but definitely we had one eye on him, given our past association with him. He is an exciting young boy who already has the skills at this early stage of his career and is improving with every game he plays."
In the squad: Two right-arm quicks, Abbas Afridi and Aamer Azmat.

Karachi Kings

Zaman Khan and Muhammad Zeeshan, a six-foot-eight-inch quick from Faisalabad, who didn't get a team. But Karachi had all their bases covered with a fast-bowling unit of Mohammad Amir, Chris Jordan, Aamer Yamin, Umaid Asif, Mohammad Imran Jnr and Mohammad Ilyas, from the top categories.
"We were dead set about the player we had taken in draft," they say, explaining why they didn't make a dash for the youngsters.
In the squad: Qasim Akram and offspinner Mohammad Taha.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent