A significant part of the current national setup is those cricketers who have made their mark as upcoming talents in the last seven seasons of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Some of these superstars have gone on to win multiple ICC awards in recent years, and some of these superstars are currently ranked in the top three of the ICC rankings.
Keeping the grooming of emerging players in PSL in mind, fans are eagerly awaiting some youngsters to showcase their talent and make their way into the national setup in the ongoing eighth edition of PSL.
Some youngsters in the ongoing edition have already drawn the attention of the cricket fraternity while receiving praise from former cricketers and experts.
Let’s have a look at five upcoming talents that have impressed in PSL 8 so far:
One thing that is quite visible in Multan Sultans’ marvelous start to the tournament has been the performances of their emerging star, Ihsanullah.
If Sultans’ captain, Mohammad Rizwan, is the backbone of the batting unit, then right-arm pacer, Ihsanullah, is the soul of the bowling unit.
Ihsanullah’s bowling skills were put to the test in the first PSL game against Lahore Qalandars, where he finished his spell, conceding 37 runs and taking two wickets.
His best performance this edition came against Gladiators in their second match, where he took the lead as the leading wicket-taker of the season and is still on top of that list.
The 20-year-old pacer annihilated the Sarfaraz-led batting lineup with sheer pacer and swing, finishing his bowling spell with 5 for 12 in his 4 overs and registering his career-best bowling figures.
The speedster maintained his momentum against Zalmi in their third match, taking three wickets including the wicket of Babar Azam, which he described as his ‘dream wicket’.
The young pacer then took 2 for 19 against Islamabad United but went wicketless against Karachi Kings, conceding only 17 runs in four overs.
Currently, the right-arm pacer is the leading wicket-taker of the ongoing edition, taking 12 wickets in five games at an average of 13.70 and an economy rate of 5.54.
The injury to Shahnawaz Dahani in the opening encounter allowed young Abbas Afridi to make his way to the playing XI and showcase his talent with his bowling skills.
In his first match of the season against Gladiators, the right-arm pacer helped his side to convincingly defeat the opposition by taking two-wicket and conceding 27 runs.
Abbas’ next clash was against the Zalmi, getting rid of the in-form batter, Mohammad Haris, and West Indian batter, Rovman Powell to lead his side to 56 run victory.
The 21-year-old pacer was at his best against Shadab Khan-led Islamabad United, where he destroyed the opposition batting unit with a spell of 4 for 22 in four overs.
The real test of Abbas’s handling pressure was against Karachi Kings when he was trusted for the last crucial over while Imad Wasim and Ben Cutting were on the crease.
The right-arm pacer not only defended 22 runs in his last over with the wicket of Ben Cutting but also broke the rhythm of Karachi Kings by getting rid of Shoaib Malik earlier in the innings.
The emerging star is currently the season’s second-highest wicket-taker, taking 10 wickets in four matches at an average of 13.70 and an economy rate of 9.90.
Mirza Tahir Baig
The stylish opening batter, Mirza Tahir Baig was selected as an emerging player by the Lahore Qalandars in the PSL 2023 draft. He has been handed the responsibility to open the innings with Fakhar Zaman in the ongoing tournament.
Although the emerging cricketer, who started his professional career this season, has yet to play a significantly big innings for his team, he has made headlines for his skills and temperament.
Mirza Baig was added to the playing XI for the first game against Sultans, where his 32-run innings and 61-run partnership with Zaman helped Qalandars to their first win.
The opener remained the top scorer for his team in their second game against Karachi Kings, scoring 45 runs off 39 balls, including three boundaries and two sixes.
Mirza faced one of the PSL’s most lethal bowling attacks in their third game against Quetta Gladiators and scored 31 off 15 balls, including four boundaries and two sixes.
The right-hander stitched 61, 40, and 49-run partnerships with Fakhar Zaman, against Multan Sultans, Karachi Kings, and Quetta Gladiators, respectively.
Saim Ayub, the top-order batter for Peshawar Zalmi, is another star who has caught the attention of the cricketing fraternity for his stylish strokeplay.
However, Saim has so far displayed his performance in only one match in the ongoing edition of PSL 8. The left-handed batter scored 53 runs off 37 balls against Multan Sultans, which included three boundaries and the same number of maximums.
Due to his clean hitting and use of the wrist, the 20-year-old batter reminded cricket fans of Pakistan’s legendary batter, Saeed Anwar, with his classy innings.
After scoring a fighting innings of 53, he earned the plaudits of former Pakistani cricketer, Ramiz Raja, who stated that Saim, along with Mohammad Haris are future openers for Pakistan’s T20 side.
Irfan Khan Niazi
Karachi Kings’ upcoming young talent, Irfan Khan Niazi has showcased glimpses of his brilliance in the first few matches of PSL 8. Irfan has been useful with the bat and has arguably been the best fielder in the tournament so far.
Irfan has taken 4 catches in the tournament so far and all of them have been nothing less than screamers. He has showcased his athleticism in the field and his six-hitting ability in the four matches he has played so far.
The 20-year-old has been solid with the bat as well. He has scored 58 runs, including smashing 5 huge maximums, at an average of 58.00 in the 4 innings he has played in PSL 8. His strike rate of 145.00 is one of the better ones in the Karachi side as well.
The flamboyant batter will be looking forward to being handed some more responsibility with the bat and unleash his full potential in the ongoing tournament.
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