The 2020 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is all set to take centrestage from February 20, 2020. The opening game is scheduled to take place between defending champions Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United at the National Stadium in Karachi.
This time around, the entire T20 extravaganza would be taking place in Pakistan, unlike the previous seasons when the United Arab Emirates also played hosts. On December 2019, the players’ draft took place at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore.
A few days ago, on December 6, PSL named the retention lists of the six teams. The Gladiators, being the title holders, got the first pick. A total of 425 foreign cricketers registered themselves for the draft. Among them a few names, who can change the course of a game with a blink of an eye, also exist.
In the article, let’s take a look at five foreign players to watch out for: –
1. Jason Roy- Quetta Gladiators
Jason Roy has emerged as one of the most consistent top-order batsmen for England, especially after the 2015 World Cup. Recently, he played his 200th T20 match against South Africa in East London and turned up with a fifty, though in a losing cause.
He already has four centuries to his name in the format to go with 33 fifties. The strike-rate is also up there at 146.06 with 200 plus sixes. Roy isn’t alien to the PSL, having already represented the Quetta Gladiators and the Lahore Qalandars in the 2017 and 2018 editions.
In seven matches in the league, the Durban-born has 226 runs at a strike-rate of 139.50. This time around, he’s back for the Gladiators after being picked in the Platinum Category. With over 5,000 T20 runs under his belt, Roy will be a force to reckon with.
2. Dale Steyn- Islamabad United
Dale Steyn is nearing the age of 37, but he hasn’t run out of gas by any stretch of the imagination. Albeit he been faced with a number of injury concerns, the veteran has kept coming back. Last year, he was on a wicket-churning spree for the Cape Town Blitz and then went to play for the Melbourne Stars in the BBL.
Recently, he returned to the South Africa setup in the T20Is against England. Steyn is now set to turn out for the Islamabad United in the upcoming PSL. It will be the Proteas’ seamer’s maiden appearance in the T20 tournament.
It goes without saying that Steyn is their most experienced bowler with support roles from Rumman Raees and Faheem Ashraf. Steyn has 250 plus T20 wickets at economy rate of around 6.70. The United picked him up in the Platinum Category.
3. Tom Banton- Peshawar Zalmi
Tom Banton came to the fore after an incredible season for Somerset in the 2019 T20 Blast. The 21-year-old hasn’t looked back and has already played in the BBL, T10 League apart from donning the national colours in three ODIs and as many T20Is.
Banton has also gotten an IPL contract for the Kolkata Knight Riders. But prior to that, Banton will be turning out for Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL. In 27 T20s, Tom has 870 runs, striking at 160.22. To go with seven fifties, he also has a century against Kent in the shortest format.
During his stint in the BBL, Banton smashed spinner Arjun Nair for five consecutive sixes, representing the Heat. For the Zalmi, he will have English teammate Liam Livingstone for company. The franchise picked the Young Turk in the Diamond Category.
4. Imran Tahir- Multan Sultans
Imran Tahir is well into his 40s, but he still keeps enthralling the audience with his bag of tricks. The Lahore-born is going great guns, especially in the T20 format. In 282 matches, Tahir has over 350 wickets at an economy around seven.
The tweaker has even been trusted to bowl in the powerplay and at the death, such has been his class. The veteran will be playing for Multan Sultans in the PSL. Tahir played the 2018 PSL for the Sultans and was their leading wicket-taker.
In 10 matches, the South African picked up 13 wickets with best figures of 3/19. For the next season, Tahir was picked in the Supplementary category. In the Sultans’ team, he will have Shahid Afridi and Usman Qadir as his leg-spinning partners. He also has done well for the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the MSL.
5. Chris Lynn- Lahore Qalandars
Back in December, Chris Lynn came close to breaking the fastest century in the BBL history. Representing the Brisbane Heat, the Queenslander notched 94 off 35 with 11 sixes against the Sydney Sixers. 274 over-boundaries at a strike-rate of 142.49 aren’t meek numbers in 176 T20 matches by any means.
The 29-year-old is now ready to spit venom in the PSL as well, playing for the Lahore Qalandars. The Qalandars are yet to win the championship, having mostly finished as the cellar dwellers. Lynn’s power-hitting prowess bolsters their lineup without a doubt.
Lynn was one of the seven players picked in the Platinum Category. The franchise also the likes of Fakhar Zaman and Lendl Simmons and now with Lynn in the side, firepower at the top of the order shouldn’t be one of their concerns.