It’s that time of the year again when the more enthusiastic of PSL fans get glued to social media and their TVs. The simple reason being the PSL Player Draft is around the corner. This Sunday, 12th November at roughly 1pm (Pakistan time), the draft is expected to begin in Lahore.
As usual there is a lot of excitement around, with fans throwing a lot of names into the hat, consisting of players who they think will rock the PSL in 2018.
First of all let me put it out there: there are no AB de Villiers, David Warner, Jos Buttler, Virat Kohli etc in the draft. Still I more than expect Pakistan fans to pick players not in the draft, or retired players as the solutions to their teams problems.
This season has a lot to look forward to; more games in Pakistan, PSL Final in Karachi, more international players, expansion of the league and most importantly a sixth team- Multan Sultans. After the 9 retention, albeit some very questionable decisions, all the teams look good to go for Sunday, but which teams should go for which players? Here I some of my thoughts.
Starting from Lahore Qalandars, the franchise that has done so much work off-the-field, but is yet to fire on it. Their Player Development Programme, now in its second edition, is truly a remarkable achievement, yet in the PSL the teams performance is quite poor. Despite having a destructive batting lineup in both editions of the PSL, their fans are yet to see the fireworks they hoped for.
Ideally, for Lahore Qalandars to improve they need to improve their bowling, especially their seam bowling. With their first pick in the Platinum round, LQ should go for Mitchell Johnson, who has the capability to spearhead their pace attack. Also his wealth of experience will no doubt help the younger bowlers coming through the PDP.
Obviously, they will need a solid batsmen too. Though fans would love to have Chris Lynn, it wouldn’t be the best choice. Lahore already have a top order of Brendon McCullum, Fakhar Zaman, Umar Akmal and Cameron Delport. Enough destruction as it is. Chris Lynn would only disturb this order and Lahore will just have a repeat of last year. Here Darren Bravo seems like a better option. A batsmen who can hold up one end, but is more than capable of exploding when required in the death overs.
In the scenario that Lahore is unable to purchase any of the above the other options are Mitchell McClenaghan or Mustafizur Rehman. These two bowlers have both been picked by the Qalandars franchise in the past, Mustafizur Rehman in PSL 1 and Mitchell McClenaghan in the now postponed Global T20 League for the Durban Qalandars. So they will definitely have their eyes on them. Both bowlers have proved their quality already, most notably in the IPL.
If Lahore miss out on Darren Bravo, James Vince or JP Duminy (if someone hasn’t taken him already) can be suitable options as they play a similar role. Also with JP Duminy the added factor is his bowling, which will be useful on spin-friendly wickets.
Finally, Lahore Qalandars will need a wicketkeeper. Luke Ronchi is the obvious choice from the list of overseas players. Unless, of course, they decide to use Brendon McCullum or Umar Akmal as a wicketkeeper. Alternatively, they may scout a local Pakistani player to fill this void.
Lahore Qalandars Targets:
Bowlers: Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mustafizur Rehman
Batsmen: Darren Bravo, JP Duminy, James Vince
Wicketkeeper: Luke Ronchi
Writter By: HBL PSL FANS