Batsmen: Misbah ul Haq (Captain), Alex Hales, Asif Ali, JP Duminy, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sahibzada Farhan
All-rounders: Amad Butt, Andre Russell, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hussain Talat, Samit Patel
Wicket-keepers: Sam Billings, Luke Ronchi, Mohammad Hasan, Chadwick Walton, Rohail Nazir
Bowlers: Mohammad Sami, Steven Finn, Rumman Raees (vice captain), Samuel Badree, Zafar Gohar.
While they finished as champions in the first edition, Islamabad United were not as impressive in the second edition. What hurt them most the second time Round was the loss of Sharjeel Khan. Sharjeel had got Islamabad off to blazing starts in the first edition, including a 100 vs Peshawar Zalmi in the second eliminator. In the second edition, Islamabad never really recovered from the loss. Although they tried out the likes of Rafatullah Mohmand and Asif Ali, they just weren’t as consistent enough, and they were beaten by Karachi Kings in the eliminator.
This time Islamabad have looked to follow a similar template to the first edition. Luke Ronchi and Sahibzada Farhan will be expected to provide the firepower at the top, and Andre Russell, who missed the second edition due to a failed dope test, will be expected to return to the lower order, alongside with local allrounder Fahim Ashraf.
Shadab Khan, probably the find of last year’s PSL will be one of Islamabad’s key players with both bat and ball, while Sami and Rumman will be their pace attack.
1) Young blood: They say ‘T20 is a young man’s game’. Islamabad have invested in quite a few budding young players who will be looking to leave a mark. The likes of Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat, Amad Butt and Rohail Nazir will hope to put in some performances that would make the selectors sit up and notice them, while Shadab Khan and Fahim Ashraf are also still quite young. Zafar Gohar will also be looking to impress after returning from a shoulder injury. Young pacer Mohammad Hasnain was also part of the squad but was withdrawn due to injury.
2) Allrounders: Islamabad have a lot of players who can contribute with both bat and ball. This includes the likes of Andre Russell, Hussain Talat, Samit Patel, Shadab Khan, Fahim Ashraf and Amad Butt. They will hope that these players can contribute solidly in both facets of the game, rather than ‘bits and pieces’ performances
3) Spinners: In the PSL, the most potent weapon is probably spin. The conditions help the spinners and this helps them attack and look to take wickets. Islamabad have a good depth in the spin department, including the likes of Shadab, Zafar, Badree and Samit, who can help them attack in the middle-overs
4) In-form Locals: Sahibzada Farhan first made his name in the Pentangular Cup last year. Selected as a replacement for Azhar Ali, he delivered consistent performances, notching up a 50 in every game, before going on to score a ton in the final. Since then he has performed in pretty much all the opportunities he has got, including the recently concluded Regional One Day tournament. Farhan will be expected to play a similar role for Islamabad and get them off to aggressive starts. Farhan isn’t the only inform player for Islamabad though, also amongst the runs have been Iftikhar Ahmed, Hussain Talat and Asif Ali. As such there would be a healthy competition between the Islamabad middle order players
1) Aging Players: While the bulk of the team consists of young players, this Islamabad squad also contains a few key players, who are well past their prime and could possibly weigh the team down. One such player is captain Misbah ul Haq. He has not been in the best form over the last year or so, and infact weighed down the Chittagong Vikings so much with his go-slow performances that he was not only sacked as captain, but dropped from the side altogether. Islamabad will be hoping he will come up with better performances in this competition. Another such player would be Mohammad Sami. While Sami was a key pacer for Islamabad in the last two seasons, he has always blown hot and cold, and with age not on the side, along with the fact that he has put on some weight, one wonders if he will be able to perform in the same fashion as the last two seasons
2) Lack of specialist pacers: While there are a lot of pace bowling all-rounders in this side, it seems a bit thin on specialists. Rumman, Sami and Finn are there, but if one of them fails, things could go awry, as the all-rounders are their only backup option, and they could often turn out to be expensive
Players to watch out: Sahibzada Farhan, Hussain Talat
Sahibzada has been among the runs since last year's Pentangular Cup, while Talat has also been solid in the last year or so. A good PSL could earn these two a national team call-up. While this will be Sahibzada's first PSL, Talat has played one PSL game before, scoring a 50 before missing the rest of the tournament owing to injury
A decent outfit with strong local and international players, and lots of young talent. If the youngsters convert that talent into actual output, and if the aging players are able to defy their age, they could well end up with the title.
Islamabad United - PSL 2018 - Team Preview
Islamabad United - PSL 2018 - Team Preview