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Pakistan’s home cricket season is coming to a close but the quality and quantity of cricket we’ve witnessed on Pakistani soil this season remains unparalleled. The intensive season included the National T20 Cup, Quaid e Azam Trophy, West Indies tour of Pakistan, PSL, and ongoing historic Australia’s tour of Pakistan. That said, it wouldn’t be called a day before the completion of the Pakistan Cup: the country’s premier 50 Over Tournament.
Even though many national players won’t be available since the tournament will run parallel to the Australia tour of Pakistan, there is plenty to expect and to follow.
While all squads look pretty balanced and the players matched, there are a few young distinguished stars that can help their teams to the domestic title.
Also read: Pakistan Cup 2022 – Squads and Schedule
Who are the fantastic five to look out for in Pakistan Cup?
The 20-year-old Kashmiri speedster’s rise has been nothing short of exceptional. Coming onto the scene first in August last year in Kashmir Premier League, the youngster has gone on to play National T20 Cup for Northern and Pakistan Super League for Lahore Qalandars. His performance in PSL 7 was of particular excellence, where he picked 18 wickets in 13 matches at an outstanding average of 21.4. Not surprisingly, he secured 2 Man of the Match awards as well as the Emerging Player of the Season Award.
He’ll be donning Northern’s jersey in his first Pakistan Cup, and there’s no reason not to think that he can wreak havoc with his brilliant bowling skills.
Another young pacer, but with a story completely different from that of Zaman Khan. While Mir Hamza doesn’t have accolades like PSL’s Best Emerging Player to his name, what he does have is the experience on his side. Having remained on Pakistan’s cricket scene for many years now, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that the lad must have many tricks up his sleeve. Having a staggering 104 wickets to his name in 71 List A matches, Hamza’s team Sindh would be more than happy to have him with them.
To top it off, the pacer will be captaining Sindh this season. Can he replicate the heroics of his fellow bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi as a captain?
The left-handed wicket-keeper from Pishin will be seen in Balochistan colors in Pakistan Cup. His team will be glad to have given his recent form, which has been nothing short of remarkable. Amassing 380 runs in 6 innings with 2 hundred in the recently concluded U19 World Cup, he made sure he’s not the one to be ignored or sidelined.
Yasir Shah’s men will try to make the best out of Haseebullah’s talent and skills, and only time will tell how it turns out to be.
The young batter first made headlines with his performance in ICC U19 World Cup 2020 and hasn’t looked back since. He scored 879 runs in 17 innings at an average of 51.71 in the Quaid e Azam trophy 2021-22; a performance that truly tells that he has what it takes to succeed at this level. While the format will be different, Northern would be expecting the same spirited performance from him.
Salman Irshad is not a new name when it comes to Pakistan’s domestic scene. He came to light a few years ago through Lahore Qalandars’ Player Development Programme. That said, cricket has not always been a smooth ride for Salman. His performance in the PSL wasn’t up to the mark initially, such that he was omitted by Lahore Qalandars eventually. This year, however, fans saw a new face of Salman Irshad as his variations even seemed to confuse the best in the business like Babar Azam. Seems like the change of franchise to Peshawar Zalmi has worked in his favor.
Salman Irshad will be pairing up with Zaman Khan to lead the Northern pace battery, and both will look to take their teams home more often than not.