Chasing History: Lahore Qalandars Eye Three-Peat in PSL, Aiming for Back-to-Back PSL Titles

The 8th edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League gets underway in Multan, on 13th February. For the first time, the city of Multan would have the privilege of hosting the competition’s opening game. All eyes would be on Lahore Qalandars as they eye on Back-to-back PSL titles. The Qalandars lifted their maiden PSL title last season, under the captaincy of Shaheen Shah Afridi, after 6 years of struggle.

Back-to-back PSL titles: What does the history say?

Up till now, no PSL side has been able to win back-to-back titles. Multan Sultans came very close to achieving that feat last season, but they were comprehensively beaten by Qalandars in the final. Led by their young captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Lahore Qalandars would be quite eager to not only retain their PSL title but to create history by becoming the first side to win the PSL title in consecutive seasons. Let’s assess their strength and weaknesses ahead of the upcoming PSL edition.


Fierce Pace Attack

It is fair to say that Lahore Qalandars have got the best pace attack in the PSL, spearheaded by their captain Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf. The deadly duo has troubled many batters over the last couple of years, with their sheer pace and swing. Haris has 47 wickets to his name in PSL, whereas Shaheen has picked up 70 PSL wickets and is ranked at number 3 in the highest wicket-takers chart. These two pacers would be supported by Zaman Khan. Zaman Khan was one of the break-out stars of the last season as he picked up 18 wickets in the tournament. The 21-year-old would be determined to carry forward his form into this edition of PSL. While Ahmad Daniyal and Dilbar Hussain, products of the famous Qalandars Player Development Program, would be eager to showcase their skills after getting international exposure by playing in various international leagues.

Young Captain

A captain is a very important part of a team as his decisions have a considerable bearing on the outcome of the game. For achieving success, nothing is more important than being led by a young and determined captain. A captain who is not afraid to take bold decisions and is always there to support his teammates. Shaheen Shah Afridi is the one who possesses all of these traits. A few eyebrows were raised when he was handed the Qalandars’ captaincy last season. But instead of taking pressure, the 22-year-old accepted the challenge with open arms and led his side to PSL glory. A feat that his predecessors had failed to achieve before. He would be hoping to carry that run into this season as well.

T20 Specialists

This Lahore Qalandars side is loaded with T20 specialists. Whether it is bowling, fielding, or batting, they have almost got all the bases covered. Apart from Shaheen and Haris, another prominent name in Qalandars bowling department is Rashid Khan. He is considered to be one of the most lethal spinners in the shorter format of the game. The 24-year-old has shown his skills in various T20 leagues around the world. The Afghanistan-born spinner has 500+ wickets to his name in the T20s. His contributions are not only limited to bowling, but he is also a handy batter down the order and is a terrific fielder as well.

Fakhar Zaman is another T20 specialist upon whom the Qalandars have relied heavily in the past seasons. The explosive Pakistani batter has scored 1939 runs in PSL at a strike rate of 138.79. The Lahore fans would have high expectations from him this season as well. In the allrounder category, Qalandars have got the services of David Wiese and Sikander Raza. Wiese has been the part of Qalandars family since 2019. The veteran has been a valuable member of the squad and over the past seasons, he has single-handedly won the game a few times for his side. Sikander Raza would be making his debut for Lahore this season, but the 37-year-old is no stranger to the T20 format. He has had a stellar 2022 year and he would be hoping to replicate his performances in PSL as well.

Also Read: PSL 8: Match Officials, Commentary Panel and Broadcast Territories announced


Inexperienced Wicket Keepers

The management of Lahore Qalandars must be satisfied with their squad roster, but the wicket-keeping department might be an area of concern for them. After spending 3 seasons with the Qalandars, Ben Dunk was not picked by Lahore in this year’s PSL Draft. Although the Qalandars have got 5 wicketkeepers in their squad, a few of them are a bit inexperienced and a few of them are only partially available. Shawaiz Irfan and Shane Dadswell have shown decent performances at the domestic level, but they do not have the exposure of playing at the highest level. Among the foreign players, the Qalandars have got Sam Billings, Kusal Mendis, and Jordan Cox. But they will not be available for the entire season.

The Availability of Foreign Players

The Qalandar’s fans must be gutted to know that Harry Brook won’t be able to feature for them this season due to international commitments. The young batter caught the eyes of the English selectors while playing for Lahore last season. And since then, the 23-year-old has not looked back. His absence would be a big loss for the Qalandars. Another issue for Lahore is that their star man, Rashid Khan would also be not available for the entire season as Afghanistan is scheduled to play UAE from 16th to 19th February. Jordan Cox is another player who would be partially available for the tournament. But the Qalandars must be hoping that their replacements Sam Billings and Kusal Mendis would complete the job for them.

Surprise Packages

Shawaiz Irfan

Shawaiz Irfan was one of the star performers in the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Junior League. The 19-year-old lit the tournament up with his explosive batting. He scored 183 runs at a strike rate of 161.94 in 7 innings. Being an emerging player, the hard-hitting batter is expected to be a regular part of the playing XI as all sides are bound to have at least one emerging player in the matchday squad.

Shane Dadswell

The South African has been drafted into the squad as a replacement for Harry Brook. The 25-year-old goes straight into the Qalandars squad from their player development program. In doing so he joins the list of players who have gone through that same route in recent times. But this time he has achieved the feat of being the only foreign player to do so. He is a wicketkeeper batter who is expected to get some game time as Qalandars are a bit short in the wicketkeeping department.

Lahore Qalandars have got a star-studded squad that is capable of fighting till the very end in order to defend their title. After several years of disappointments, they will finally head into the tournament as favorites rather than mere pushovers. Indeed, these are exciting times to be a Qalandar fan. Who believes that his or her team can go all the way and make history by winning back-to-back PSL titles?

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