Lahore, Pakistan: The Pakistan Super League has shot to fame not only for its high-quality cricket and star-studded power but, more importantly, as a platform for young talent to shine through and make a case for their selection in the national team.
The 2016 edition gave us Mohammad Nawaz; the 2017 tournament gave us Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Faheem Ashraf and Rumman Raees; 2018 brought forward Shaheen Shah Afridi, Asif Ali and Hussain Talat – the talent had mostly been a mix of fast bowling, spin, and batting.
But the ongoing PSL stands out for the sheer raw pace of rising stars who have stolen the limelight with their searing speeds, living true to Pakistan’s untiring reputation as a fast-bowling factory that keeps on giving.
Here are five speedsters who have caught our attention:
Quetta Gladiators’ rookie pacer Mohammad Hasnain has delivered the fastest ball of this PSL so far, sending the speed gun buzzing at 150.52kph.
The 18-year old from Hyderabad caught everyone’s attention with his fiery spell of 1-29 on his PSL debut, clocking consistently at over 140kph before finally breaking the 150kph barrier in his later match.
Hasnain, who has represented Pakistan in the Under-19 team, has five wickets from four matches he has played in this PSL so far, with his best figures of 2-32 coming against Islamabad United on March 5 in Abu Dhabi. He has an economy of 7.18.
A find of the Lahore Qalandars’ player development programme, Haris Rauf turned heads with his match-winning spell of 4-23 against Karachi Kings on February 16 in Dubai.
The victory was an emotional one for Rauf, who was raised on tape-ball games but was snapped up by Lahore Qalandars at its talent hunt trials when he bowled 148kph in the nets.
The 25-year old from Rawalpindi is the fourth joint-highest wicket-taker this PSL with 11 scalps from eight matches at an impressive economy of 6.82.
His 149kph delivery is the tournament’s second-fastest. A bit of tweak to his technique and it’s only a matter of time when he crosses over the 150kph barrier.
Islamabad United’s 18-year-old Muhammad Musa proved himself as the X-factor in the February 22 match against Peshawar Zalmi, when he bagged a sensational 3-23 to take his team to a 12-run win against Peshawar Zalmi in Sharjah.
Also once a part of Pakistan U-19 team, Musa clocked in at 147kph to become the third-fastest young pacer in this PSL. He has five wickets from four matches at an economy of 8.50.
Paceman Ali Shafiq impressed in his very first PSL match, bagging the Player of the Match award for his 2-11 figures against Islamabad United at a mind-blowing economy of 2.75.
Although the 22-year old has only played two matches, he has already made his name in the crop of rising fast bowlers from this PSL with his 142kph speed. In all, he took two wickets from the two matches at a brilliant economy of 3.52.
Another teen, 19-year old Mohammad Ilyas of Multan Sultans has made his mark by clocking up speeds around 137kph and with his ability to swing the ball.
Ilyas, who impressed for Pakistan in the Emerging Asia Cup with a hat-trick last year, has eight wickets from seven PSL matches so far, at an economy of 8.05.
His best performance of 3-27 against Karachi Kings wasn’t enough to win Multan Sultans the match, but he told the world he’s one to look out for when he removed Babar Azam, Colin Munro and Mohammad Rizwan while conceding only 27 runs.