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Wednesday February 21, 2024

HBL PSL 9 set to serve as trials ahead of T20 World Cup

February 11, 2024

LAHORE: The HBL PSL season 9 is really significant as it will help the national selectors to get a massive input in their quest to build a strong Pakistan side for the ICC T20 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by the United States and West Indies in June.

Pakistans T20 Captain Shaheen Shah Afridi can be seen during the HBL PSL match. — AFP/File
Pakistan's T20 Captain Shaheen Shah Afridi can be seen during the HBL PSL match. — AFP/File

Pakistan have already begun their preparations for the global event with their recently concluded five-match T20I series against New Zealand at the latter’s backyard which the Green-shirts lost 4-1.

Some key players were missing in that series due to fitness issues. The PSL will be a major platform for them to show their fitness and form and convince the national selectors so that they could be put in the further build-up process.

Pakistan will also play a four-match T20I series against England late May which will be their final preparatory stint before taking on the US in the World Cup opener on June 6.

The PSL will not only be an ideal platform for the already tested players but for those unusual youngsters who may also press for the World Cup squad seats.

And it is highly expected that this league will be more competitive. Some amazing exploits may be seen in the month-long affair which will explode into action here at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore on February 17 with the two-time winners Lahore Qalandars taking on former two-time champions Islamabad United.

The PSL, launched in 2016, has been blossomed over the years. This time, the media rights were sold out at a record sum of Rs 6.3 billion.

The last eight editions handed Pakistan so many players who have been representing the elite side for the last several years.

Peshawar Zalmi’s skipper and former Pakistan captain Babar Azam has been a massive inspiration with the bat so far. He leads the batting chart of the country’s marquee event by scoring 2935 runs in 79 matches he has played so far. Most of his runs he scored while representing Karachi Kings both as a batsman and latter as a skipper.

His super exploit with the bat also features one century and 28 fifties which are also the highest number of fifties made by any batsman in the league.

Fakhar Zaman (2368), Shoaib Malik (2082), Mohammad Rizwan (1996), Kamran Akmal (1972), Rillee Rossouw (1867), Mohammad Hafeez (1731) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (1503) were the others to follow Babar.

Kamran Akmal has scored the highest number of three centuries with Fakhar, Sharjeel Khan and Jason Roy scoring two each. Babar, Rizwan, Cameron Delport, Usman Khan, Colin Ingram, Chris Lynn, Harry Brook and Usman Khawaja have scored one century each.

The PSL highest score has been posted by no other than hard-hitting English cricketer Jason Roy who had plundered 145 not out for Quetta Gladiators against Peshawar Zalmi in Rawalpindi on March 8, 2023. His super knock had enabled Gladiators to chase a 241-run target with ten balls to spare.

Fakhar has hit the most 100 sixes in the PSL with Kamran Akmal and Asif Ali following him with 89 and 88, respectively. Australia’s Ben Dunk holds record of hitting maximum 12 sixes in an innings.