It’s been barely three months since Pakistan cricket fans witnessed a Babar Azam batting special in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final that propelled Karachi Kings to their inaugural title. A fresh edition of PSL is now already upon us with the festival to officially kick-start on February 20. All six franchises have recruited globally renowned international stars, T20 specialists, and talented prodigies. In this article, we take a look at four highly esteemed cricketers who will be donning a PSL franchise’s shirt for the first time in their immensely illustrious careers.
Rashid Khan – Lahore Qalandars
Rashid Khan, a production of the modern-day game, has claims to be one of the best T20 cricketers going around the globe. While still in his teenage, Rashid Khan managed to flaunt cash-rich contracts at the Indian Premier League (IPL) and has been a force to reckon with in other T20 leagues including Big Bash League (BBL) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Someone who markets the modern face of leg-spin with a lot of swagger, the wryly leggie has a stacked-up wickets column (343 T20 wickets) to prove that he’s a vital cog for any team that he plays for. This is his first-ever stint in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and although he will be available for only a couple of matches for Lahore Qalandars before flying off to feature in Afghanistan’s Test series against Zimbabwe, Rashid Khan would be eager to make his mark felt in yet another competition and ensure his return next season.
Mujeeb-ur-Rahman – Peshawar Zalmi
Belonging to the Ajantha Mendis club and termed as a ‘mystery’ spinner, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman is another spin-bowling talent from Afghanistan. He represented his country at a tender age of 16 and rose through the ranks with his set of difficult-to-decipher variations. Although he is still a teenager, a major enhancement in Mujeeb-ur-Rahman’s reputation came from his Under-19 accolades. He starred in Afghanistan’s memorable victory in the U-19 Asia Cup where they beat Pakistan in the final. Working in tandem with other Afghanistan spinners on the international stage, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman has been striking the right chords and has already picked up 96 scalps across all three formats. Unlike Rashid Khan, he will be available for a major part of this year’s PSL but is likely to miss the final stages in order to play in the T20I series against Zimbabwe.
Paul Stirling – Islamabad United
Paul Stirling, one of the finest cricketers to come out of Ireland, has been signed up as a replacement player by Islamabad United. The right-hand opening batsman from Belfast is currently in the form of his life in white-ball cricket, having scored four centuries across his last six ODI matches. Over the years since his debut, he has become the linchpin of Ireland’s batting order and has racked up runs for fun in their Associate-level fixtures. Paul Stirling has featured in various T20 comps around the world, but this is, by far, the most competitive one he will be playing in. The Irish vice-captain’s teammates over in Islamabad United also include fellow Britishers Phil Salt and Alex Hales.
David Miller – Peshawar Zalmi
South Africa’s belligerent batsman, David Miller, will be representing the Yellow Storm in the second half of this year’s PSL. The left-hander will be unavailable for the first phase due to his domestic commitments for the CSA T20 Challenge Cup. David Miller was recently in Lahore for South Africa’s three-match T20I series against Pakistan. The 31-year-old nearly single-handedly took a depleted and inexperienced South African side to a series victory courtesy a magnificent display of power-hitting in the final T20I. Over the years, David Miller has been defined for his penchant to clear the boundary with ease and his acrobatics in the field. Safe to say that he can provide that x-factor to Peshawar Zalmi, something they severely lacked the last time around.