With former world champions struggling for a direct qualification to the 2019 world cup, Pakistan’s tour to West Indies holds a lot of significance for both sides. A good series should allow West Indies to earn critical points that would help reduce the gap that lies between the two rivals in the ICC rankings. On the other hand, the boys in green would be searching for a One Day International (ODI) series white wash to secure a huge advantage ahead of the cut-off date (i.e. September 30, 2017).
Chief selector, Inzamam-ul-Haq announced the T20 and ODI squads on the 15th of March, 2017. Azhar Ali, Sohail Khan and Umar Akmal were amongst those to have missed out. Poor ODI form of Azhar Ali and omission of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif (owing to the spot fixing scandal) meant that Ahmed Shehzad and Kamran Akmal were able to force their way back in. Still, with some exciting youngsters in the line-up the likes of Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez , Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan will have to perform exceptionally well to keep their place or else they might be replaced for future tours.
The second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) finally helped in identification of some good young cricketers who seem capable of playing the modern brand of limited overs cricket. Here is a look at some of those youngsters who have made it to the Pakistan team from the PSL and who now have an opportunity to establish themselves at the highest level.
5. Mohammad Asghar
With Pakistan desperate to win every game and owing to the presence of spin-bowling all-rounders like Imad Wasim, Shahdab Khan, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik the management might not be able to allow Asghar (who has been selected for the ODIs) a debut during the rubber. Nevertheless, this should be a invaluable experience for him and he still might be part of the Test squad as a backup to Yasir Shah. Moreover, a injury here or there will certainly help Asghar in establishing his spot as regular member of the playing eleven.
4. Usman Khan
Usman has been selected in the T20 squad after he had managed to impress the selectors during the second edition of PSL. With Mohammad Amir rested, Wahab Riaz struggling for consistency and with only a few more years of cricket left in Sohail Tanvir the management is likely to provide a game or two to see if Usman has it in him to settle down at the highest level.
A good performance by the youngster would most definitely give some of the senior fast bowlers in the side a run for their money.
3. Rumman Raees
Rumman’s unique celebration style following a fall of wicket allowed him to make headlines during PSL 2. However, it was his impressive performance with the ball during the event owing to which he has managed a place in the T20 squad. He too like Usman might be given a game or two so that he is able to have the feel of the international level.
Since he specializes in bowling towards the death, a good performance by him might as well force the selectors to add his name to the ODI squad.
2. Fakhar Zaman
Fakhar was amongst the stand out players in the second edition of PSL. With Pakistan playing four T20s and 3 ODIs during the tour the opener from Lahore Qalendars is likely to make debut at some point. With Sharjeel Khan facing a disciplinary hearing Fakhar should get his opportunity making use of which he can cement his place in the national side.
1. Shahdab Khan
Shahdab Khan without a shadow of doubt was the star of PSL 2 and is likely to feature regularly during the tour both in ODIs and T20s. With age on his side if the all-rounder manages to remain fit and is able to put up some good performances he could well be the next super star Pakistan is looking for!