Batsmen: Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Abdullah Shafiq, Darren Bravo, Saif Badar, Umar Siddiq, Shan Masood
All-rounders: Shoaib Malik (captain), Sohail Tanvir, Kieron Pollard, Kashif Bhatti, Ross Whiteley
Wicket-keepers: Kumar Sangakkara, Nicholas Pooran
Bowlers: Umar Gul, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir, Irfan Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Hardus Viljoen
The new kid on the block in this PSL will be the Multan Sultans. Captained by Shoaib Malik, this side features a lot of players who have been regulars for Pakistan in the past. This includes the likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Sohail Tanvir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Umar Gul, Sohaib Maqsood and Shan Masood.
While the experience of these players will be a good thing for Multan, it could also be argued that some of these players are washed out / past their best, and / or tried and tested failures. Only time will tell if their strategy at the draft pays dividends or not.
1) Lots of pace options: Junaid, Irfan and Tanvir are likely to form the Multan pace attack, but if they fail, Multan will have a solid backup in Mohammad Abbas and Umar Gul, as well as foreigner Hardus Viljoen
2) Experienced veterans: The likes of Shoaib Malik, Kumar Sangakarra, Ahmed Shehzad, Kieron Pollard and Sohail Tanvir are some of the most sought after T20 players around the world. In addition they also have a lot of local players who have been a regular for Pakistan in the past. As already mentioned, a few of these guys may not be as good as they were a few years ago, so this might just turn out to be a drawback. Still, with plenty of experienced options, Multan would back themselves to qualify for the playoffs
3) Lots of spin options: Spinners are always an important part in the PSL, and Multan are not lacking in this department by any means. They will have the services of one of the top T20 spinners in the business in Imran Tahir, and also have their fair share of local tweakers in Irfan Khan (legspinner) and Kashif Bhatti (slow left arm bowler), along with Shoaib Malik, who can bowl his offspinners when needed, and Saif Badar, who is also a handy leggie, in addition to being a batting prospect. Similarly, Abdullah Shafiq is another emerging player who can bowl part time leggies. Zahir Khan, the Afghanistan legspinner will also be available for a few games.
1) Lack of firepower: Kieron Pollard seems the only player in this side who can blast from ball one. Sohaib Maqsood could be another such player, who has also been in good form coming into this tournament, but his past inconsistency would go against Multan. Shoaib Malik and Kumar Sangakarra are two highly sought after T20 batsmen, but are known to play ‘smart’ cricket rather than looking to be all out aggressive when they start off, only blasting off after they have become well-set
2) ‘Hot and cold’ pacers: Even though Multan have a lot of pace bowling options, it could turn out to be a ‘quantity rather than quality’ issue for them. While Sohail Tanvir has enjoyed success in T20 leagues around the world, this hasn’t exactly been the case in PSL for some reason. Perhaps the conditions in the UAE haven’t suited him very well. This can be seen by the fact that both Karachi and Lahore did not retain him after the first and second seasons respectively. Also, Junaid Khan was quite expensive for Peshawar Zalmi last year, and Umar Gul has seemed a shadow of the bowler he once was during the last few years. He was expensive in the few games he got for the Quetta Gladiators in the last two seasons. Similiarly, Irfan's performances for Islamabad last year were also quite 'hot and cold'. He is also a very injury-prone bowler. While these bowlers can be dangerous when they get it right, if they don’t, things could get awry for Multan.
Players to watch out: Irfan Khan, the legspinner is definitely one of the players to watch out for the Sultans. He first came to the limelight a few years ago, when he got a lot of turn and bounce in one of the domestic T20 games, where he particularly troubled Pakistan test batsman Asad Shafiq. That video soon went viral on YouTube, with viewers quick to point similarities of his action and bowling with that of the legendary Australian spin bowler Shane Warne. Irfan was with Peshawar Zalmi last season,but could not get a game. He impressed in the Emirates T20 competition in which Peshawar Zalmi took part, but was not retained by Peshawar, and Multan were quick to snap him up. Irfan will finally be hoping for a chance to impress at the big stage and get a call-up to the national side.
Another player to watch out would be Saif Badar. A talented batsman who bowls handy leg-spin, Saif made an impression during the 2016 U/19 World Cup, but after that has failed to make his mark in the domestic setup. He, and Multan fans will hope that this is his time to shine.
Perhaps, an eye should also be kept on Abdullah Shafiq. Like Saif, Abdullah is another product of the U/19’s and can bowl part time legspin. Not much is known about Abdullah, but a good PSL could change that.
Another one is Umar Siddiq. A talented left handed batsman, his only problem is consistency. He will be looking to impress in the PSL and earn a national call-up after being considered for quite some time now, but never really being able to make the cut.
Spin will be Multan's strongest strength. They have a lot of pace options, but some of them have the tendency to blow 'hot and cold'. In batsman, their strategy was to pick experienced veterans, but it could be argued if they are past their best, and only time will tell if it was the correct strategy or if they got it horribly wrong.
Multan Sultans - PSL 2018 - Team Preview
Multan Sultans - PSL 2018 - Team Preview