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  1. #1
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    Pakistan Super League 2019 Preview: Quetta Gladiators

    By @mak36




    Quetta Gladiators have been one of the most consistent sides since PSL1, having reached the finals in the first two editions and losing in the playoffs by one run in the third. Despite this, Quetta’s squad has once again gone under the radar when it comes to discussing likely winners of PSL4. In some sense that’s understandable. The signings they made this year that got the biggest press were for all the wrong reasons; the names Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal and Sohail Tanvir leave a lot to be desired for many. Add Anwar Ali to that mix and you can see why so many fans are disappointed. But look beyond that and there is a strong case to be made for putting them as one of the front runners…


    Strengths

    For PSL4, there has been a clear change in approach from QG. The first two seasons QG reached the finals but lost. The first PSL final they lost fair and square, but the PSL2 final and PSL3 knock out games were hosted in Pakistan and QG were the team hurt the most when it came to losing players for the matches in Pakistan. This particularly affected QG's batting, as most their foreign picks were batsmen (Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson e.t.c).

    QG (once bitten, twice shy as it were) have finally learnt their lesson and this season have avoided putting all their eggs in one basket. That’s to say, this year they have picked a more "balanced" squad with their home players forming the core of the team (in both bowling and batting) with the foreign players then adding value on top of that. In other words, they have taken the IU approach of young Pakistani players forming the nucleus of the team. A sure recipe for success (and of gaining love from fans in the process!)

    In essence, QG are sick of being perennial runner ups and blame it on their over-reliance on foreign players. This year, having picked a squad bursting to the seams with young Pakistani talent it’s fair to say they have succeeded in their mission of strengthening their domestic bench strength. So much so, I would go so far as saying QG (along with LQ) had the best draft picks as they have overhauled their squad and addressed their main weaknesses from previous years. The question now is whether they will select their best XI...


    Weaknesses

    QG's biggest problem is themselves. In the first two editions QG gained a lot of goodwill from fans, including from supporters of other PSL sides, because of their underdog status and the fact they gave a platform for young domestic players to shine. That goodwill disappeared in PSL3 when the likes of Saud Shakeel were left to warm the bench whilst seniors unsuited to T20 were given repeated chances to fail. This ‘senior’ strategy not only hurt QG’s performances but left many fans with a bitter taste in their mouth.

    If QG repeat the mistake of blindly playing "experienced" domestic players (e.g. Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali) ahead of the young talent in their squad then QG will not only hurt their chances but also lose fans in the process. Conversely, if they actually give the young talent in their squad opportunities and play an XI similar to the below then QG will not only maximise their chances of winning PSL4 but they will also regain the love of fans.

    Playing XI: Shane Watson (F), Ahsan Ali, Saud Shakeel, Umar Akmal, Danish Aziz, Dwayne Bravo (F)/Rilee Rossouw (F), Sarfaraz Ahmed, Sunil Narine (F), Mohammad Nawaz/Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Hasnain/Ghulam Mudassar (E), Fawad Ahmed (F).


    Players to watch out for

    Along with IU, QG boast the best young domestic talent and that includes their emerging picks Mohammad Hasnain and Ghulam Mudassar. It’s a great pity Naseem Shah is injured but he will most likely be part of QG’s squad in PSL5.

    In terms of batting, Ahsan Ali is a very smart pick by QG; here’s hoping he is given plenty of game time. The middle order strength is excellent with Saud Shakeel and Danish Aziz more than capable of building a platform from which QG can launch in the later overs.

    Sarfaraz Ahmed is a very astute T20 captain, particularly adept at using spinners to squeeze the run-rate in the middle overs. He will need to be at his best to get the most out of QG’s bowling attack.


    Verdict

    QG this season (i) have gone back to their roots and invested in young domestic players and (ii) copied IU's template of making young Pakistani players the core of their squad. The end result is a strong and balanced squad, with plenty of depth. QG's bowling attack will offer a diet of spin to the opposition, with the pacers playing a supporting role; a strategy well suited to the UAE/Pakistan.

    Whatever happens in terms of results it’s great to see another PSL franchise investing in young, domestic talent. That can only be good news for PSL and for Pakistan. Here’s hoping it’s a strategy QG are able to execute this season as on paper they have one of the strongest squads (along with IU). Put it this way, if QG play an XI similar to the above line up then I would back them to finally shake off the tag “always the bridesmaid, never the bride…”


    Squad

    Sarfaraz Ahmed , Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Nawaz, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Fawad Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Saud Shakeel, Mohammad Asghar, Danish Aziz, Ahsan Ali, Ghulam Mudassar, Mohammad Hasnain, Harry Gurney, Ahmed Shehzad, Azam Khan, Jalat Khan, Mohammad Irfan jr.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 11th February 2019 at 21:40.


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  2. #2
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    Time for Sarfaraz to prove his critics wrong. It would be a good boost for him both as a player & captain if he manages to win the PSL.



  3. #3
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    It's Umar Akmal's last chance to impress Mickey in order to make it to the WC squad.

    If he gets the purple cap or is the top 3 run scorer in the PSL Mickey will not be able to ignore him.

    Doubt that U.Akmal has it in him to show consistent performances, but it would be good for Pak.


    "You aren't a failure if you fail, you are a failure if you don't get up to try again" - Imran Khan.

  4. #4
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    I think we will eventually see QG field

    Ahmed / Ahsan Ali
    Narine/Saud Shakeel
    Watson
    Rilee
    Umar
    Sarfraz
    Bravo/Fawad/Narine
    Nawaz/Asghar
    Sohail Tanvir
    Anwar Ali
    Mohammed Irfan Jr/Danish Aziz

    Few combinations depending on opposition I guess. Good mix of proven big hitters and T20 specialist.

  5. #5
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    If QG repeat the mistake of blindly playing "experienced" domestic players (e.g. Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali) ahead of the young talent in their squad then QG will not only hurt their chances but also lose fans in the process.
    While talking to a local media outlet, the national skipper said that “Gladiators have a great combination with Sohail Tanvir and Ahmed Shehzad in the squad and we are eyeing the title this [coming] edition”.

    https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/201...ta-gladiators/


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  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    Weaknesses

    QG's biggest problem is themselves. In the first two editions QG gained a lot of goodwill from fans, including from supporters of other PSL sides, because of their underdog status and the fact they gave a platform for young domestic players to shine. That goodwill disappeared in PSL3 when the likes of Saud Shakeel were left to warm the bench whilst seniors unsuited to T20 were given repeated chances to fail. This ‘senior’ strategy not only hurt QG’s performances but left many fans with a bitter taste in their mouth.

    If QG repeat the mistake of blindly playing "experienced" domestic players (e.g. Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali) ahead of the young talent in their squad then QG will not only hurt their chances but also lose fans in the process. Conversely, if they actually give the young talent in their squad opportunities and play an XI similar to the below then QG will not only maximise their chances of winning PSL4 but they will also regain the love of fans.
    Saud on the bench, golden duck for Shehzad @mak36


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah719 View Post
    Saud on the bench, golden duck for Shehzad @mak36
    So frustrating they have Ahsan Ali, Saud and Danish on the bench. And are they seriously saying Hasnain can't do better than Tanvir's 0-36 from 4 overs?

    They got away with it yesterday because PZ are weak but really annoyed at QG tbh.

    Both IU and QG are wasting so much talent.

  9. #9
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    Looking the part Quetta - seem very strong but can they carry on the momentum?


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  10. #10
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  11. #11
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    So far they are going good but their fast bowling isn't top notch. rest of their team is perfect.

  12. #12
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    The best bowling attack in the Pakistan Super League, Quetta Gladiators:

    The experience & skills of Sohail Tanvir
    The tricks of DJ Bravo
    The raw pace of Mohammad Hasnain
    The control of Mohammad Nawaz
    The variety of Fawad Ahmed



  13. #13
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    Surprised Shane Watson hasn't bowled at all this year in PSL.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaaik View Post
    Time for Sarfaraz to prove his critics wrong. It would be a good boost for him both as a player & captain if he manages to win the PSL.
    Sarfraz has already proved his critics wrong by being the best captain in PSL.

    One main reason why they didnt win 2 out of 3 seasons was the unavailability of gun foreign players.

    Only major criticism I have on Sarfraz is not standing up to Moin and non-selection of few players and backing the wrong horses like Shehzad but he has led a comparatively weak Quetta side really well in all the 4 seasons so far and got the best out of his playing X1.


    Sarfi as captain'll lead us to glory.Babar'll be our best odi bat & Haris'll be world class in tests

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoeyfactor View Post
    Surprised Shane Watson hasn't bowled at all this year in PSL.
    Apparently he has recently stopped bowling.


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  16. #16
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    Quetta must have a very good chance to win now.


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