Quetta Gladiators were disappointing last year as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their history. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed said that he is confident that Quetta has covered all the bases and will have a successful tournament.
Quetta recruited smartly this season, adding the flamboyant English batsman, Tom Banton, and the Universe Boss, Chris Gayle, to their ranks.
Chris Gayle however will not be available for most of the tournament, hence, Quetta opted to recruit former South African captain, Faf du Plessis, who will come in once Gayle returns to join his international squad. Quetta also brought in South African legend, Dale Steyn. Although he’s not at his prime, Steyn will provide them with crucial experience and will lead the pack of young and exciting fast bowlers.
Captain: Sarfaraz Ahmed
Coach: Moin Khan
Bowling coach: Umar Gul
Best finish: Champions (PSL 4)
Last year finish: 5th
Quetta has exciting talent available to them in the spin department. Mohammad Nawaz has been at the franchise since the inaugural tournament and has been one of the consistent performers throughout the PSL. He made a comeback to the national side in the recent T20I series against South Africa and will be determined to keep his place in the national team.
Zahid Mehmood also made his first appearance for the national side in the series against South Africa and he impressed everyone with his leg-spin. Zahid has been a consistent performer in Pakistan’s domestic circuit and has honed his craft on the pitches in the country.
Qais Ahmed is a young Afghani leg-spinner who can be deadly on his day as well. This provides Quetta with a host of options within their ranks.
Quetta’s fast bowling quartet is exceptional as well. It has a perfect blend of experience and youth and provides them with a number of options. Mohammad Hasnain was magnificent in PSL 5 and his pace could trouble the batsmen.
Similarly, Naseem Shah is an exciting young prospect and he will be determined to silence his critics and catch the attention of national selectors to make it back to the national team. Usman Shinwari provides them with a left-arm option. Although he may have faltered recently, he possesses the skill to dismantle the opposition batting line-up on any day.
Finally, South African legend, Dale Steyn, although not as deadly as he used to be, will be perfect to aid the young fast bowlers in the squad.
Quetta possesses a strong batting unit that can take the opposition bowlers to the cleaners, but their batting line-up does not look balanced. They will have Gayle for only two matches and his opening partnership with Tom Banton will be sorely missed.
Gladiators do not have a recognized opener apart from Gayle and Banton in their squad. They will have to promote either Cameron Delport or Sarfaraz Ahmed up the order. That would lead to a vulnerable middle-order. They have Faf du Plessis, Azam Khan, and one of either Sarfaraz or Delport available in the middle-order. On their day they have the ability to post scores in excess of 200, but it can lead to a collapse as well.
Quetta will have to play their cards right if they want to move onto the playoffs.
Another worrisome area for Quetta is the lack of quality all-rounders. Ben Cutting was exceptional last year and Quetta will be hoping that he provides the fireworks at the backend of the innings and his bowling will be crucial as well.
Mohammad Nawaz is a great opening bowler and an exceptional fielder but his skills with the bat are limited and his bowling in the middle-overs can cost a few.
Anwar Ali had the potential to be Pakistan’s permanent all-rounder but those days are long gone. He may well be a better batsman than a bowler now. Gladiators don’t have a lot of options in the all-rounders category.
Tom Banton will be crucial for Quetta this season. They will be delighted to have him for the whole tournament. Banton is an unorthodox explosive opener that can take away the game from the opposition in an instant.
He did not perform to the best of his abilities last year and was released by Peshawar Zalmi. Banton has since gone on to lose his place in England’s T20I side as well. This might prove to be the perfect catalyst for Banton to regain his form back and perform in the sub-continent to catch the eye of the English selectors. Banton will be required to provide explosive starts to Quetta and he may be the best option available in the tournament.
Zahid Mehmood may not be a hidden gem in the domestic circuit, he certainly is one in the PSL. Zahid has only played one match since the inception of PSL and he will be looking to make himself a household name after the tournament.
Zahid is expected to gain a lot of game time this season and that too with good reason. We have been stressing on the spinning tracks in Pakistan and Zahid demonstrated his skills in the third T20I against South Africa at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Zahid is a clever customer and he has perfected the art of leg-spin bowling on the pitches in the country. He will be a threat in the tournament and we won’t be surprised to see his name somewhere near the top of the wicket-taking charts at the conclusion of the tournament.
Quetta has been one of the most successful franchises in the tournament’s history, having played three finals. They have revamped their squad this year and they possess enough quality to make it to the play-offs.
Sarfaraz Ahmed is a proven world-class captain and he will be looking to inspire his troops to go deep in the tournament. They possess a potent batting unit and have a strong bowling unit as well. They have a few gaps in the team but the individual quality might be able to pull them through.
Our predicted finish for Quetta Gladiators is fourth!
Quetta Gladiators Squad
|Sarfaraz Ahmed (c) (wk)||Chris Gayle*||Tom Banton||Ben Cutting|
|Mohammad Hasnain||Mohammad Nawaz||Azam Khan (wk)||Naseem Shah|
|Usman Shinwari||Zahid Mehmood||Anwar Ali||Qais Ahmed|
|Abdul Nasir||Cameron Delport||Saim Ayub||Aarish Ali Khan|
|Dale Steyn**||Usman Khan||Faf Du Plessis*(Replacement for Gayle)||Hassan Khan**(Replacement for Steyn)|
Quetta Gladiators Schedule
|1||Saturday, 20 February||Karachi Kings v Quetta Gladiators||2:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|2||Monday, 22 February||Lahore Qalandars v Quetta Gladiators||7:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|3||Friday, 26 February||Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators||8:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|4||Monday, 1 March||Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators||7:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|5||Wednesday, 3 March||Quetta Gladiators v Multan Sultans||7:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|6||Saturday, 6 March||Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators||2:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|7||Sunday, 7 March||Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators||2:00 pm||National Stadium Karachi|
|8||Thursday, 11 March||Quetta Gladiators v Lahore Qalandars||7:00 pm||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore|
|9||Saturday, 13 March||Quetta Gladiators v Karachi Kings||2:00pm||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore|
|10||Sunday, 14 March||Quetta Gladiators v Peshawar Zalmi||2:00 pm||Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore|
Check out the full PSL 2021 schedule here.