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  1. #1
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    "From no hard-ball cricket to the PSL and BBL in 2 years, it's been incredible" : Dilbar Hussain

    Plucked from obscurity by the Lahore Qalandars Player Development Program in 2018, with no club, district or first-class experience, and with only experience of tape-ball cricket to his name, Dilbar Hussainís career has already seen some amazing highlights. The 27-year-old fast-bowler from Faisalabad was a surprise replacement for Haris Rauf at BBL09 and then bowled effectively in PSL5 to take 7 wickets for Lahore Qalandars.

    In an exclusive interview with PakPassion.net, Dilbar explained how being part of Lahore Qalandars has helped him make the transition from tape-ball to hard-ball cricket, the advice he received from David Hussey in Australia, his experience of playing PSL5 in front of home crowds and his future aspirations to play first-class cricket.






    PakPassion.net: Tell us about how you developed an interest in cricket?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Like most Pakistani youngsters, I started playing tape-ball cricket near my home from an early age. None of my relatives had ever played cricket to a high standard so I was the first one in my family who had shown so much interest in the game. I moved on to playing tape-ball cricket at a professional level and attained a pretty good standard, with some excellent performances whilst participating in Ramzan tournaments in Oman in 2015.


    PakPassion.net: Who would you consider your role model when it comes to fast-bowling?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Mohammad Asif was the one bowler who I wanted to emulate when I first started to play cricket. In fact, I used to bowl with the same action as Asif in my early days when I played tape-ball cricket. I would watch him bowl on television and observe his bowling style and all the people who used to watch me play were amazed at how much my action resembled Asifís. Then over a period of time, as I started to play tape-ball cricket in a professional capacity, I started to change my action to one that was suitable for my style of bowling and made it more unique to myself and that is the one I use today.


    PakPassion.net: So, when did you start playing hard-ball cricket?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    My first taste of hard-ball cricket came when I was asked to appear in trials for the Lahore Qalandars Player Development Program (PDP) in 2018. From no hard-ball cricket to the PSL and BBL in 2 years, it's been incredible.


    PakPassion.net: What made you go to the Lahore Qalandars trials in the first place?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Until 2018, I had been hesitant to go to these trials as I felt that like in most things in Pakistan, you needed to have strong backing to be selected as opposed to being picked on merit. But a few of my friends who had made it through in these trials in the past such as Haris Rauf and Mohammad Irfan Jr. advised me that Lahore Qalandars were very sincere in their intentions about these trials and would pick genuinely good players based upon their talent and skills. In fact, it was my family members who were really keen for me to try out for the PDP trials as they really wanted me to succeed and to make a name for myself as my friends had in the past.


    PakPassion.net: How did appearing in these trials help you start your journey in the world of cricket?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    My first experience of these trials in Faisalabad proved important in convincing me that I could actually bowl quickly with a hard-ball as I had never bowled in a proper setting with the red-ball before. I bowled close to 142 KpH in those trials and Aaqib Javed then picked me for my bowling, and that kick-started my journey in the world of proper cricket. I was asked to play in an inter-Qalandars tournament where I performed really well and so in 2018, I was selected for the tour of Australia. I did well in the matches for Qalandars in Australia and whilst I had offers from some local clubs there, Aaqib convinced me that the best option since I had not played any hard-ball cricket before, was for me to stay with Qalandars as they could help me develop as a bowler and so I was offered a one-year contract which I gladly accepted.


    PakPassion.net: How would you describe your first experience of participating in the PSL, although in a non-playing capacity?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    I wasnít part of the Lahore Qalandars squad for the 2019 edition of the PSL but for my development as a player, I was brought in to be with the squad for the duration of the tournament. Whilst I didnít play in any games, this stay in UAE was crucial for me as I got to see first-hand how top-level players conduct themselves and how they train and prepare for games. I also understood the fact that I had to work doubly hard in the future so that I could become part of the Lahore Qalandars squad for the next edition of the tournament and thankfully, that is what happened.


    PakPassion.net: What improvements did you see in yourself as a bowler after you started playing hard-ball cricket under Lahore Qalandars?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    When I started to bowl with the hard-ball in 2018, it was normal for me to feel very tired after bowling 3-4 overs. This was a weakness in my game that Lahore Qalandars focussed on by providing me with some expert coaches who advised me how to train and also regarding my diet. The result of that training which lasted almost a year was that when I came into PSL5, I was able to bowl 20-22 balls consistently at speeds of around 145KpH+, with the highest speed of 149 KpH.


    PakPassion.net: How did the opportunity to play in the Big Bash League come about?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    I was involved in the preparation camp for PSL5 during January of this year when it was announced that Haris Rauf, who had been playing in the Big Bash League had been picked to play for Pakistan in the T20I series against Bangladesh. Aaqib Javed then asked me if I was interested in playing in the BBL09 as Harisís replacement. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that if other players from Pakistan including Haris Rauf, can go over there and play so well, so could I and so I agreed to the proposal. This was a great chance for me and a platform for me to possibly further improve my skills and I was in no mood to let it go. From then on, things moved very fast as my visa was granted and I found myself in Australia on the 19th of January, barely 2-3 days after being told about the chance of playing with the Melbourne Stars. I then made my BBL debut against Brisbane Heat on 25th January.


    PakPassion.net: Playing amongst some top names at the BBL must have been a great experience?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Imagine a player who had not played proper hard-ball cricket at the club or district level or been part of the domestic setup being given a chance to play in such a high-profile tournament like BBL. When I made my debut, there was a lot of pressure on me as I was playing my first game on such a massive stage because BBL is considered to be one of the biggest T20 leagues in the world. I was playing in front of a knowledgeable crowd as well and in a game being broadcast live on TV so understandably there were butterflies in my stomach. As it is, Australia is considered one of the toughest places to play cricket as the standards are very high, where players are supremely fit and players are taught to play proper cricket from a very young age. So, to get a chance to play in such an environment was indeed an honour for me and a highlight of my career so far.


    PakPassion.net: Were you satisfied with your debut at the BBL?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Unfortunately, I could not perform very well on my debut, although I am satisfied with the fact that I gave my 100% in that game. Whilst I played just one game in the BBL, I learnt a lot from my stay with the Melbourne Stars including how they practice and maintain their fitness and take care of their diets which was very useful for me.


    PakPassion.net: How much encouragement did you get from the team management at the Melbourne Stars?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    It was an amazing experience to play under the captaincy of Glenn Maxwell and the support I got from our coach David Hussey was unbelievable. Even though my performance in my only game wasnít up to the mark, Hussey was very supportive and told me to not be disappointed by such setbacks. He told me to continue playing in the same way I have been doing in the past and he specifically mentioned the fact that Stuart Broad once got hit for 6 sixes by Yuvraj Singh but still managed to become an excellent bowler even after that, or when Ben Stokes bowled to the West Indies in the final of the 2016 T20 World Cup after being hit for four sixes. So, ups and downs can come at any time in a playerís career and according to Hussey, the main thing for me to do was to focus on fitness and skills and not to think too much about any setbacks.


    PakPassion.net: How pleased were you with your performances at the PSL this year?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Unlike the 2019 season where I was associated with the Qalandars squad for training purposes, I was a key member of the 2020 squad and really enjoyed every minute of my time with the side. I only sat out two games of the 10 that my team played and took 7 wickets. Whilst I would have loved to have played in all games this season, I feel gutted to have sat out the match against Karachi Kings in which Ben Dunk scored 99* and single-handedly took us to a win, and one that really renewed the power of belief in the side which helped us perform even better in this tournament.


    PakPassion.net: How exciting was it to play in front of home crowds in Lahore in PSL5?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Our home games in Lahore were simply incredible in the way we were supported by the crowd. The feeling I got of playing in front of such a huge and enthusiastic crowd was amazing and representing Lahore Qalandars in front of such an audience was an honour and a humbling experience. To be honest, the way the crowd was supporting us made each of us feel very special and really inspired us to put in that extra bit of effort. Of course, performing so well in front of a capacity crowd also had an added advantage of highlighting player profiles which I am sure will come in handy in terms of selection for other leagues and possibly national sides as well.


    PakPassion.net: What advice did you get from the senior players in the PSL?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Senior players in our side such as Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar and Shaheen Shah Afridi were not only very supportive of me but also advised me on a number of things which proved very useful for me. For example, they spoke to me about when to bowl specific types of deliveries such as bouncers and yorkers and also gave me pointers on what sort of fielding positions to use when I was bowling. For many cricketers who had been through a proper cricket education, some of these things would possibly come naturally but for me, this advice was crucial and helped me in my performances during the PSL.


    PakPassion.net: Which wicket in the PSL was your most enjoyable?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    For me, participation in the PSL as a player was a unique experience, and to be honest, just being part of such a top-quality team was a huge thing in itself. So, every wicket I took in these games was important for me and getting any batsman out in PSL was a great achievement. But bowling well to a two-time T20 World Cup winner like Darren Sammy was a very proud moment for me but the wicket that I feel was the highlight of the PSL for me was that of Shane Watson. This is because Watson is considered one of the top T20 specialists in the world and to have his wicket under my belt will be a memory that I will cherish forever.


    PakPassion.net: For a player who did not play any club, district or first-class cricket, the confidence you brought was amazing.

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Once again, the reason for this is the advice of Aaqib Javed who told me that I will never succeed in my bowling if I think any lesser of myself as compared to the batsman I was bowling to. He told me to not worry about consequences and to think like a fast-bowler who simply wants to blow away and destroy any batsman he faces. But that needs to be done with oneís wits about and with clear planning so that it's a calculated attack and not one where you are under pressure and bowling haphazardly. He told me that any good batsman would have at some point in his career faced problems against another bowler so the trick to succeed was to find out his weak spot by watching his videos and then fine-tuning your strategy against him to get his wicket.


    PakPassion.net: How important has been the support of the Lahore Qalandars management for you?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    I have been very fortunate that Atif Rana, Sameen Rana and Aaqib Javed have gone out of their way to encourage and support me ever since I was selected by Lahore Qalandars for which I will always be very grateful. I would especially mention Aaqib Javed for his advice and the attention he has given to my bowling and that has been crucial in whatever success I have had so far in my career. Of course, the prayers of my mother and my family have also been a major factor in taking me this far.


    PakPassion.net: You seem to have settled in well with the Lahore Qalandars but what are your future plans?

    Dilbar Hussain:
    Itís been a great experience with the Lahore side, and I am glad that they have always felt that I could add value to their team. I recall that when I was included in the Lahore Qalandars squad in 2019 as a non-player, AB de Villiers and Anton Devcich were consulted by Sameen Rana and Aaqib Javed about my suitability for the side and both agreed that I was a good choice for the future. In fact, many of the players with international experience in the squad were impressed by my ability to bowl quick with a very short run-up and of course, that filled me with a lot of confidence. In terms of my future course of action, I feel that it will be driven by whatever advice I receive from my team management at Lahore Qalandars as Sameen Rana and Aaqib Javed have always looked after my best interests. Aaqib in particular has always told me that a bowler only gets to know what bowling is about and learns his trade when he plays four-day games. So, I feel that it would be very beneficial for me to play first-class cricket if an opportunity comes my way in the future.


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  2. #2
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    Itís a shame that this guy is 27 and not 21. Because there is something really special about his bowling, he has a rare type of zip and bounce from an easy action with some decent pace too. There was a reason the BBL team chose to play him even though the guy had practically zero experience. The way he was troubling batsmen when he got it in the right area was really impressive. This guy has a rare talent but is it too late??? I do feel with his easy action he may be one of those bowlers who can go on until mid 30s.

  3. #3
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    For @Junaids

    He is 6ft 2in


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nado_ View Post
    It’s a shame that this guy is 27 and not 21. Because there is something really special about his bowling, he has a rare type of zip and bounce from an easy action with some decent pace too. There was a reason the BBL team chose to play him even though the guy had practically zero experience. The way he was troubling batsmen when he got it in the right area was really impressive. This guy has a rare talent but is it too late??? I do feel with his easy action he may be one of those bowlers who can go on until mid 30s.
    He should have been picked for the England tour

  5. #5
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    He should definitely play t20is. He has very easy action and with such short run up he bowls very quick. He can bowl upto 150ks. He is my from community It makes me feel good.

  6. #6
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    I know Qalandars get stick from fans, but they deserve credit for their talent hunts and development programmes.

    They put in a lot of effort to find these players and long may it continue.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I know Qalandars get stick from fans, but they deserve credit for their talent hunts and development programmes.

    They put in a lot of effort to find these players and long may it continue.
    To give someone a chance based upon talent and without any hard-ball background is amazing.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    He should have been picked for the England tour
    lol based on what


    #MPGA

  9. #9
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    I think he can make a good career for himself and a good stable finanical position even if he doesnt make it to the national team. For that LQ deserve a lot of praise


    #MPGA

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I know Qalandars get stick from fans, but they deserve credit for their talent hunts and development programmes.

    They put in a lot of effort to find these players and long may it continue.
    on the flip side maybe the argument would be that this is holding them back.

    You will find good players through this system but not find any game changers. possibly good players slip through the crack but not potential ATGs

    And also the PSL format doesnt really reward teams for finding their own talents.
    Last edited by Slog; 18th June 2020 at 01:58.


    #MPGA

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    lol based on what
    Potential. He has pace, swings the ball and also has a good change of pace. Look at the has beens and never will be be's that have been chosen, he would have been worth the gamble

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I know Qalandars get stick from fans, but they deserve credit for their talent hunts and development programmes.

    They put in a lot of effort to find these players and long may it continue.
    They find it difficult to get the balance right.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    Potential. He has pace, swings the ball and also has a good change of pace. Look at the has beens and never will be be's that have been chosen, he would have been worth the gamble
    man he's not shown the fitness to bowl 10 overs (he was tiring out by his 4th over in PSL)... and you want to take him for a Test tour... hes not even made FC debut.

    However hopefully he can build a successful limited overs career.


    #MPGA

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    man he's not shown the fitness to bowl 10 overs (he was tiring out by his 4th over in PSL)... and you want to take him for a Test tour... hes not even made FC debut.

    However hopefully he can build a successful limited overs career.
    I take your point but I was talking more about the Odi and T20. The guy has something and needs to be pushed. The worst that can happen is that he will fail but when I watch him, I see real potential.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    I take your point but I was talking more about the Odi and T20. The guy has something and needs to be pushed. The worst that can happen is that he will fail but when I watch him, I see real potential.
    this whole 'potential' drama is why players like Fawad Alam, Muhammad Abbas, Aizaz Cheema etc didnt get chances for so many years despite topping domestic charts year after year while 'talents' like Shehzad et al were given chances upon chances with little reward due to their 'potential.' Potential is such a subjective thing and inevitably using that as a yardstick devolves to likes and dislikes.

    Dilbar has literally played all of 10 games of professional cricket. Just 10 games. Selecting him for an international tour will not be fair on anyone. He has had an economy rate of 9+ an over in those games and has gone wicketless in five of those 10 games.

    Besides for T20 and ODI were have a crew of the following: Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz

    In Shaheen, Naseem, Hasnain, Haris etc we already have enough 'potentials' Especially Shaheen and Naseem havent proved a whole lot and Haris is newbie in international level. Shaheen is still a youngster.

    I think we need Dilbar to play atleast half a season to make any call on him.
    Last edited by Slog; 18th June 2020 at 02:43.


    #MPGA

  16. #16
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    Good for the domestic circuit, should give guys a hard time.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bewal Express View Post
    They find it difficult to get the balance right.
    I disagree. They unearth their own talent, but the draft choices let them down.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I disagree. They unearth their own talent, but the draft choices let them down.
    do you think PSL authorities should have some sort of reward system for franchises who find their own talent?


    #MPGA

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    this whole 'potential' drama is why players like Fawad Alam, Muhammad Abbas, Aizaz Cheema etc didnt get chances for so many years despite topping domestic charts year after year while 'talents' like Shehzad et al were given chances upon chances with little reward due to their 'potential.' Potential is such a subjective thing and inevitably using that as a yardstick devolves to likes and dislikes.

    Dilbar has literally played all of 10 games of professional cricket. Just 10 games. Selecting him for an international tour will not be fair on anyone. He has had an economy rate of 9+ an over in those games and has gone wicketless in five of those 10 games.

    Besides for T20 and ODI were have a crew of the following: Haris Rauf, Imran Khan, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari, Wahab Riaz

    In Shaheen, Naseem, Hasnain, Haris etc we already have enough 'potentials' Especially Shaheen and Naseem havent proved a whole lot and Haris is newbie in international level. Shaheen is still a youngster.

    I think we need Dilbar to play atleast half a season to make any call on him.
    For my money after SSA and Naseem, it's much of a muchness. A bowler like Hasnain doesnt threaten either edge and unless he improves dramatically, he won't do in the near future. As far as Dilbar is concerned, he has already improved in a very short period, he looked one of the better bowlers in the PSL and although his stats are not great, he looks hungry and we have nothing to lose by getting him in the enlarged PK squad.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    on the flip side maybe the argument would be that this is holding them back.

    You will find good players through this system but not find any game changers. possibly good players slip through the crack but not potential ATGs

    And also the PSL format doesnt really reward teams for finding their own talents.
    Would be interesting to keep an extra point for the team whose emerging batsman makes the most runs, and an extra point for the team whose emerging bowler takes the most wickets. This would incentivize a focus on U23 characters and give teams a reason to train their talent.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    do you think PSL authorities should have some sort of reward system for franchises who find their own talent?
    I think PCB should encourage more franchises to do it. At the moment there is no incentive.



  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I think PCB should encourage more franchises to do it. At the moment there is no incentive.
    This is an interesting idea Saj.

    the question then becomes, should this be a financial incentive or a points incentive

    I dont think PCB finances post covid leave any room for further financial incentives in the PSL.

    However, a points incentive could look like the following:

    Each team that includes two additional non-domestic/non-international/Non-previous PSL/non-age group youngsters in their PSL squads will get 2 points. Teams that don't follow this rules will have a competitive disadvantage.

    The rules should also state that these two players should be selected following a localised talent hunt in the franchises' respective regions. This is so that Franchises don't use this rule to introduce more 'Azam Khan' type situations. It may also actually open a pathway for more Baloch talents on the national stage inshAllah.

    As the two additional players will be local, it's unlikely they'll costs more salary wise, but may do so overhead wise. Hopefully the franchises can afford it.
    Last edited by KingOfPakBreakfast; 18th June 2020 at 15:42.

  23. #23
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    As an aside, Dilber shows definitive promise, but there are a couple of obvious improvement points for him:

    He absolutely needs to get better in the field, and continuous fielding drills will help with that aspect.

    He strikes me as someone who would greatly benefit with have one-two seasons of domestic cricket under his belt. That will allow him to perfect his variety pf deliveries, his line and length and how he thinks about getting batsmen out. I honestly think that the likes of Hasnain and Arshad Iqbal need the same reps, for the afore mentioned reasoning.

    His eyesight does not seem to be great. Playing with contact lens isn't unheard of, but you still don't have that complete freedom of just going out there without little irritations bugging you now and then. Perhaps he may go down the laser eye surgery route, when it is more affordable for him?

  24. #24
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    Play some FC cricket then we'll talk about international cricket.

    I'm fed up of this nonsense recently that a few half decent performances from a player in a mid-tier league like PSL and suddenly there's talk of pushing him into international cricket.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Play some FC cricket then we'll talk about international cricket.

    I'm fed up of this nonsense recently that a few half decent performances from a player in a mid-tier league like PSL and suddenly there's talk of pushing him into international cricket.
    Not sure if any selector etc has ever asked - in fact Dilbar himself when asked about aspirations never mentioned international cricket.


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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingOfPakBreakfast View Post
    This is an interesting idea Saj.

    the question then becomes, should this be a financial incentive or a points incentive

    I dont think PCB finances post covid leave any room for further financial incentives in the PSL.

    However, a points incentive could look like the following:

    Each team that includes two additional non-domestic/non-international/Non-previous PSL/non-age group youngsters in their PSL squads will get 2 points. Teams that don't follow this rules will have a competitive disadvantage.

    The rules should also state that these two players should be selected following a localised talent hunt in the franchises' respective regions. This is so that Franchises don't use this rule to introduce more 'Azam Khan' type situations. It may also actually open a pathway for more Baloch talents on the national stage inshAllah.

    As the two additional players will be local, it's unlikely they'll costs more salary wise, but may do so overhead wise. Hopefully the franchises can afford it.
    I'd like for at least 1 player in the starting XI to be from the team's development programme, but not all the team's have a programme.

    It's definitely an area that needs looking at and developing.



  27. #27
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    This is exactly how inzamam was first picked and also hasan raza
    Much better than usman shinwari

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saj View Post
    I think PCB should encourage more franchises to do it. At the moment there is no incentive.
    Yea, its unfortunate that only Lahore has taken there trials everywhere and have actually played them, even if they havent performed. The Psl was made for this exact reason. Kinda like IPL scouts.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by chacha kashmiri View Post
    This is exactly how inzamam was first picked and also hasan raza
    Much better than usman shinwari
    Inzamam made his first class debut in 1985 and had played 56 first class games before his international debut. The idea of him being plucked out of obscurity is a complete myth.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markhor View Post
    Play some FC cricket then we'll talk about international cricket.

    I'm fed up of this nonsense recently that a few half decent performances from a player in a mid-tier league like PSL and suddenly there's talk of pushing him into international cricket.
    That only happens when the FC cricket is either disfunctional or the quality is poor, in PK that's been the case for a while in both counts.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by chacha kashmiri View Post
    This is exactly how inzamam was first picked and also hasan raza
    Much better than usman shinwari
    Inzamam was picked at age of 20. Not 26 (and look like 40). And he had been in domestics for a while

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by SensiblePakFan View Post
    Yea, its unfortunate that only Lahore has taken there trials everywhere and have actually played them, even if they havent performed. The Psl was made for this exact reason. Kinda like IPL scouts.
    Zalmi have held tournaments, but the standard generally seems to bebpretty poor.



  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slog View Post
    Inzamam was picked at age of 20. Not 26 (and look like 40). And he had been in domestics for a while
    He was selected because of his net bowling
    Imran had never seem him in domestics


    "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles"

  34. #34
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    LQ and IU have been the only 2 franchises in PSL that have given younger players to come in and play in the tournament which is commendable.
    LQ have had Fakhar, Haris, Dilbar, imran butt, agha salman, shaheen
    IU have brought Farhan, Amad, Rumman, Asif Ali, Husain talat, shadab, fahim

    Other franchises have usually not given ample opportunities to the younger and relatively newer players to come in and play games.

  35. #35
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    This is a perfect example of why T20 actually is not cricket - a different ball game that uses same rules and gears of cricket.


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