Were touted as one of the favourites to lift the gold for the inaugural edition of the PSL but after a very dominant group stage display they were undone by nerves against an equally impressive Gladiators and the sheer individual brilliance of Sharjeel Khan.
It is a new year and with it brings a new captain, one of the most successful T20 captains in the game, a man who has orchestrated two world cup victories for his nation, that man is none other than Darren Sammy.
All Rounders: Shahid Afridi (Spin), Darren Sammy (Medium Pace) (c), Iftikhar Ahmed (Spin), Shakib ul Hasan (Spin), Mohammad Hafeez (Spin)
Batsmen: Eoin Morgan, Sohaib Maqsood, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Shahzad, Khushdil Shah, Alex Hales, Tamim Iqbal, Kamran Akmal
Pace/Medium Pace: Wahab Riaz, Chris Jordan, Junaid Khan, Imran Khan Jr, Hasan Ali
Spinners: Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Irfan Khan
Strengths: T20 specialists, Hard Hitting Batsmen, All Round Variety, Bowling Variety
The Zalmi team are more balanced than they were last year, they boast an array of world class allrounders and T20 specialists. Mohammad Hafeez, Shakib ul Hasan, Shahid Afridi and Darren Sammy are all household names when it comes to both bat and ball and need no introduction. When it comes to power hitting the Zalmi team again excels with players like Mohammad Shahzad, the explosive opener from Afghanistan, Eoin Morgan the innovative middle order batsman from Ireland and Tamim Iqbal the best player to come out of Bangladesh leading the charge at the top. In terms of young Pakistani talent, they showcase the steady and reliable Haris Sohail the future of the Pakistani middle order, the unpredictable Sohaib Maqsood who is looking to make a comeback into the national fold, Muhammad Asghar the talented spinner from Chaman, Hasan Ali the fiery new pacer on the block along with the two new players from the tribal areas, the hard hitting T20 specialist Khushdil Shah and the spinner who impressed everybody with a lot of variety, Mohammad Irfan Khan. Finally, to top off the set, Peshawar Zalmi boast the express yet extremely inconsistent Wahab Riaz, the re-emerging Junaid Khan, the man with 6 different slower balls Imran Khan Jnr and the death over specialist Chris Jordan.
Weakness: (Selection Dilemma?)
The only thing that springs to mind is selection headache, there is no glaring weakness in this team, as the all-rounders are equally good with the ball & bat which gives plenty of room for specialist batsmen to be selected and play their natural game without fear of a long tail.
Key Players: Shahid Afridi/Darren Sammy
He has fans and detractors alike but one must agree with the fact that Peshawar Zalmi as a brand are popular because of this man. He can change a game around single handed whether positively or negatively. From giving hope to an entire region to breaking their TV screens in disgust. For as long as he plays in the PSL he will be the most integral member of this Zalmi team and this could be his defining year in the PSL without any captaincy responsibilities which will surely allow that inner superstar to emerge once again. It most definitely will not be a surprise if a losing cause is turned into a winning cause by this man in the month that hastily approaches.
Shahid Afridi will have an important part to play for Peshawar Zalmi with both bat and ball
There will be a lot of expectations from Darren Sammy after he was put in charge of the Peshawar Zalmi team. He does not require any introductions; his trophy cabinet is glistened with two world cup trophies in an era where cricket has begun to die in the Caribbean. He is a leader of men and can get the best out of his team which is what everyone involved with Zalmi will be hoping for. His cricketing prowess is not so bad either.
Darren Sammy will be looking to replicate his winning WT20 formula at the PSL
Player to watch out for: Mohammad Shahzad Mohammadi
Mohammad Shahzad was in good form in the BPL and the recently concluded Desert T20
He is no longer a man who tortures minnow teams but he has proven to be highly capable of bullying the bowlers of a cricketing giant like South Africa too. The explosive opening batsmen from Afghanistan truly enjoys clearing the ropes and is a dream opener to have for any T20 team.
In the UAE, He averages 41 in T20i with a S/R of 137 and a highest score of 118 which came about in the one man demolition job of Zimbabwe. Not only that but it tends to rain boundaries in UAE whenever this man takes the pitch. His firepower can be assessed by the fact that he boasts a monstrous collection of 120 fours and 32 sixes in as little as 28 games. He was also in terrific form in the BPL and the recently concluded Desert T20, where he scored runs consistently at high strike rates. If given the chance there is a high certainty there will be fireworks and with Alex Hales being ruled out this may very well be reality.
Another player to look out for would be Haris Sohail , who will be making a comeback to cricket after a long time, having recovered from his injury. Haris will be looking to perform in order to prove that he still has it in him to perform at the top level. Mohammad Asghar performed admirably in the last PSL, but still hasn't been able to break into the international circuit and will look to nudge the selectors once again. Leg spinner Irfan Khan created some waves when videos of him turning the ball miles surfaced on the internet, and he will also be looking to prove his worth, if he gets an opportunity.
Peshawar Zalmi are comfortably the most balanced team in the entire competition this year with good bowlers, world class allrounders and hard hitting batsmen. They will most certainly be one of the dominant teams in the group stages and only time will tell if they go all the way this year, with the other teams also having strengthened it promises to be a very exciting tournament.
PSL Team Preview: Peshawar Zalmi
PSL Team Preview: Peshawar Zalmi
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