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Return of international cricket

Karachiites are feeling lucky these days as after a nine-year drought, international cricket is going ...

Return of international cricket
During the 1st ODI Match between West Indies and Pakistan at Guyana National Stadium, Providence, Guyana on Friday April 07, 2017.

Karachiites are feeling lucky these days as after a nine-year drought, international cricket is going to take place here. The city has already hosted the Pakistan Super League final. It will now host the three-match T20 series against West Indies. It begins today.

PSL not only provided the opportunity to local fans to watch international cricketers playing in Pakistan, it also opened the door for the local young players to get a chance to represent the national team in the series against the West Indies.

Islamabad United’s all-rounder Hussain Talat and middle-order batsman Asif Ali have been selected for the T20 series against the West Indies. The two players played a vital role in reclaiming the PSL trophy for Islamabad.

Asif Ali scored 213 while Hussain Talat scored 201 runs and claimed four wickets. Asif became a hero when he hit Hasan Ali — one of the best bowlers of limited-overs cricket — for three consecutive sixes in the final against Peshawar Zalmi.

Lahore Qalandars’ 17-year-old fast bowler Shaheen Afridi has also been named in the 15-member squad. He impressed the selectors with his accurate and tight bowling in the PSL 2018. His deadly spell of five wickets for four runs against Multan Sultans got him into the team.

Islamabad United captain Misbah-ul-Haq became the most successful PSL captain with 62.5 percent win ratio. Quetta Gladiators’ skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is behind him with 60.71 percent wins.

Islamabad United’s opener Luke Ronchi was the top scorer of PSL 2018 with 435 runs. He was aptly declared Player of the Tournament. Ronchi’s consistency — five fifties in the league — proved him much more valuable than his franchise expected at the time of drafting.

Babar Azam again proved his authority in the shortest format of the game with five half centuries in the league. He was the third highest scorer of PSL-III with 402 runs.

Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal remained the second most successful batsman of PSL-III with 425 runs, including four fifties and one hundred — the only one of the league.

All-rounder Faheem Ashraf was the most successful bowler of PSL 2018 with 17 wickets from 11 matches. Faheem failed to do much with the bat but was excellent with the ball. With some experience, he could serve Pakistan as did Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood.

Pakistan are number one in the Twenty20 ranking, while West Indies are the T20 World Champions. A good contest in the current series is expected between the two teams.

Before the ongoing T20 series, 11 Twenty20 matches have been played between the two teams. Pakistan have a clear edge with eight wins. Three matches have been won by the West Indies. Last year during the West Indies tour, Pakistan won the T20 series by 3-1.

West Indies’ 166-6 in April 2014 at Dhaka is their highest T20 score against Pakistan. The Green-shirts posted their highest score (160-4) in Dubai in September 2016.

Young Babar Azam is our most successful T20 batsman against the West Indies with 238 runs in seven matches, averaging 47.60. DJ Bravo is theirs with 190 runs, at an average of 31.66.

Samuel Badree has taken 13 wickets in nine matches at an average of 15.53. Imad Wasim and Sunil Narine are behind him with 11 scalps each.

Leg-spinner Shadab Khan has a more impressive record against West Indies as he took 10 wickets in four matches last year, averaging just 7.50.

It is unfortunate that many leading players have refused to visit Pakistan for the series. Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite, Bravo brothers, Kieron Pollard and even Sunil Narine who was part of PSL are not in the squad. All-rounder Jason Mohammad, who has played just six T20I and 26 ODIs for West Indies, will lead the new-look team.


Khurram Mahmood

Khurram Mahmood 2019

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