Which of These PSL Wicket-Keepers Will Make it to the World T20 Squad? [Analysis]
Pakstan Super League (PSL) plays a huge role in the national selection. In the previous 4 editions so far, we have seen a number of youngsters performing and ultimately graduating to the national level.
Pakistan head coach and chief selector, Misbah-ul-Haq, has also made it clear in the cricket committee’s first meeting that he will finalize a pool of players from the PSL to select the team for the T20 World Cup.
The T20 World Cup is scheduled in October/November this year in Australia and all the teams are busy identifying their best squads.
While there may be changes in the overall squad, there is one spot for a wicket-keeper up for grabs. Today, we look at the potential candidates for wicket-keeping role in the T20 World Cup 2020.
Wicket-Keepers in PSL
Let’s have a look at all the local wicket-keepers playing in this edition of PSL:
- Kamran Akmal – Peshawar Zalmi
- Mohammad Rizwan – Karachi Kings
- Sarfaraz Ahmed – Quetta Gladiators
- Azam Khan – Quetta Gladiators
- Zeeshan Ashraf – Multan Sultans
- Rohail Nazir – Multan Sultans
Kamran Akmal has once again made a strong statement about his abilities with the bat by scoring yet another T20 century in the game against Quetta Gladiators. Out of the 6 PSL centuries, Kamran Akmal has 3 to his name.
He is also the all-time leading run-scorer in PSL history with 1430 runs in 48 innings at an average of 31.08. He also holds the record for hitting the most number of sixes in the PSL. Not just this, he has been a heavy run-getter at the domestic level no matter the format.
The only thing going against him is his age. He is 38-years-old, however, he has plenty of experience and he can be an asset for Pakistan in the mega event.
Pakistan’s number one choice wicket-keeper batsman, Mohammad Rizwan, hasn’t enjoyed playing PSL much. In 23 innings, he has scored 400 runs at 23.52. He isn’t an impact player, which is evident from the fact that he has hit just one fifty in the entire PSL history.
The 27-year-old is a decent performer at the domestic level, however, he doesn’t boast a good record at the international stage. In 18 T20Is, Rizwan has a career-best score of 33* and has scored 185 runs at an average of 16.81.
The right-handed batsman, however, showed promise against Australia when they visited UAE, scoring 2 centuries in 5 ODIs.
Rizwan was also dropped from the playing XI by the Kings in their most recent game after witnessing his poor form with the bat.
Once the captain of the side, Sarfaraz Ahmed, is once again in contention for a spot in the national side. Having led his team to the number one ranking in T20Is, Sarfaraz was ousted based on his poor performances with the bat. In 41 innings, Sarfaraz has 812 runs at 28.00 with three fifties.
The 32-year-old has worked a lot on his fitness and has looked like a better player and is currently among the leading run-scorers after 3 games.
If we talk about overall PSL stats, Sarfaraz is among the top 10 run-scorers with 819 runs at 31.50. If he keeps performing, he might well be on the plane to Australia for the World Cup.
Azam Khan has already made plenty of fans with his blistering strokeplay in this year’s PSL. Earlier, he was being thought of as a ‘parchi’, however, he has laid all those claims to rest with his performances. He is also among the top-run scorers in the event this year and his critics have had to sit back owing to his talent.
In just three matches, he turned the game on its head in two matches where his aggressive batting style turned the game in his team’s favor.
Moin Khan’s son, Azam Khan, hasn’t played much domestic cricket, however, his talent was on full display during the first few matches of the PSL and if he continues this way, he will definitely be in consideration for a chance. He isn’t keeping the wickets because Sarfaraz Ahmed is Quetta’s first-choice wicket-keeper.
One of the most promising emerging stars and wild card pick for Multan Sultans, Zeeshan Ashraf has introduced himself at the big stage with a fighting half-century against Islamabad United.
Coming to bat at number 5, Zeeshan smacked 50 from just 29 balls with 4 fours and 3 sixes. He looked like a proper finisher, something which the Pakistan team desperately needs.
When we talk about domestic performances, the Okara-born left-handed batsman first impressed for Southern Punjab second XI from where he was promoted to play for their first XI. He ticks all the boxes for Misbah-ul-Haq, who will certainly be keeping a close eye on him.
Pakistan’s Under-19 captain, Rohail Nazir, has been impressive at the junior level. He averages 47.10 in List A cricket including 2 centuries from just 11 innings, which showcases the talent he possesses.
The top-order batsman is yet to feature for Multan Sultans, and it will be tough for him to get a spot in the playing XI because Zeeshan Ashraf is likely to continue as their first-choice wicket-keeper.
Misbah will have eyes on him as well considering he has done very well at the Under-19 level.
Which one of these should be a part of the Pakistan team at the T20 World Cup? Let us know in the comments.