LAHORE The HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) has served as a launching pad for several talented youngsters over the years as the exposure to quality cricket in the presence of national and international stars helps them to enhance their skillset. Fakhar Zaman, Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Haris Rauf, Haider Ali and Mohammad Haris are examples of players, who have shot to prominence from the PSL platform and gone on to prove their mettle on the international stage. Some of the newcomers excited to showcase their skills in PSL 2023 include Multan Sultans’ Arafat Minhas, Karachi Kings’ M Irfan Khan, Peshawar Zalmi’s Haseebullah, Lahore Qalandars’ Shawaiz Irfan, Quetta Gladiators’ Aimal Khan and Islamabad United’s Hassan Nawaz. This young lot will be eager to establish their credentials as the tournament commences in Multan on February 13 with the opening match between Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars. ARAFAT MINHAS – MULTAN SULTANS: Arafat has enjoyed a successful run in the series between Pakistan U19 and Bangladesh U19 in Nov 2022, where he bagged player of the series award, scoring 171 runs with two halfcenturies and also took three wickets. His impressive performances in the Pakistan Cup helped him get a place in Pakistan Test squad against New Zealand in December. “It is an unbelievable feeling and I want to prove that I can compete on big stage.
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I hope to get tips from David Miller with whom I’ll be sharing the dressing room.” MUHAMMAD IRFAN KHAN – KARACHI KINGS: A product of the PCB’s age-group programme, middle-order batter M Irfan Khan has represented Pakistan in two ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cups in 2020 and 2022. He, 20, made 141 runs in nine innings in the National T20 2022-23 at a strike-rate of 153.26 with a 31-ball 57 against Balochistan being the highlight of his campaign. “Getting selected for the first time in the PSL is certainly a satisfying feeling. I want to deliver for Karachi Kings. I am glad I’ll get a chance to interact with my cricketing idol Shoaib Malik and will definitely learn a lot from him.” HASEEBULLAH – PESHAWAR ZALMI: Talented prospect from Pishin, Haseebullah Khan has been a prolific performer in the domestic circuit ever since he made his List A debut in March 2022. He was the leading run-getter in his team’s Pakistan Cup 2021-22 winning campaign and was second-highest runscorer in the 50-over tournament. His tally of 551 runs and 10 dismissals saw him take home the best wicketkeeper of the tournament award.
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“Being picked in the PSL draft for Peshawar Zalmi was a proud moment for me. Our team has Babar Azam and Haris Sohail and I am happy to share the dressing room with them for the entire season.” SHAWAIZ IRFAN – LAHORE QALANDARS: Shawaiz Irfan built a reputation of being a fierce striker of the cricket ball in the Pakistan Junior League. He was part of the champion side Bahawalpur Royals and blasted a 32-ball 79 studded with six sixes in the final. His rollicking show allowed him a chance in the Pakistan U19 team for the home series against Bangladesh U19. “I am thankful for being picked in Lahore Qalandars. I am stoked to share the dressing room with the likes of Rashid Khan, Sikandar Raza, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, and it was my wish to be in their company.” AIMAL KHAN – QUETTA GLADIATORS: Rightarm pacer Aimal Khan made waves in the opening match of the Pakistan Junior League with a match-winning spell of 3-15 in four overs for Mardan Warriors. “The PSL is a big brand and I feel honored to play in this league and be associated with Quetta Gladiators. Interacting with Naseem Shah will be a satisfying experience. I will be using the tips I receive from him to challenge the likes of M Rizwan and David Miller in the tournament.” HASSAN NAWAZ – ISLAMABAD UNITED:
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The Layyah-born Hassan Nawaz demonstrated his six-hitting talent in the Kashmir Premier League stint with Mirpur Royals, where he managed 241 runs in six innings at a strike-rate of 148.76 and 14 maximums. “Islamabad United has always been my favourite team and I am glad to be a part of it. Learning from power-hitters like Asif Ali and Colin Munro would hone my skills and make me a better player in this format.”