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    PSL 6 preview : Can a 'hit and miss' Quetta pace-bowling attack help win the 2021 title?



    4 wins out of 10 matches in last year’s edition of the Pakistan Super League saw Quetta Gladiators miss out on the second stage of the tournament due to an inferior Net Run-Rate to Peshawar Zalmi. For a team that has been beaten finalists twice and were crowned winners in 2019, this was a major disappointment and an underachievement.

    Despite the below-par performances of last year, the Gladiators owners haven’t panicked and made major changes. The coaching staff is once again led by former Pakistan wicket-keeper and captain Moin Khan, whilst many of last year’s squad have been retained. Only time will tell whether this was the right call, but another poor tournament and the heat will be on the coaching staff, skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and several of the regular Quetta players.


    Strengths

    They have a number of players who have a lot of Twenty20 League experience under their belts having played in such leagues all around the world. Faf du Plessis, Ben Cutting, Chris Gayle and Cameron Delport have a wealth of experience in Twenty20 cricket and that could be vital and key for the Gladiators. When it comes to experience overall, add Sarfaraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali and Dale Steyn to the mix and you have a squad who should be well aware of what to expect in a T20 tournament, how to pace themselves and how to come out on top to win the title. There are a number of big names in the squad with a lot of cricket under their belt and if they gel well then that could well spell trouble for the opposition.


    Weaknesses

    The pace-bowling looks hit and miss. On a good day the likes of Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Dale Steyn and Anwar Ali could be very effective, but will they have the consistency day in, day out and perform to the level needed to win a tournament such as the Pakistan Super League? It looks like a pace-bowling unit that could on a good day blast out the opposition, but on a bad day could go for plenty. Also, perhaps there is too much loyalty amongst the players that they are being retained each year and this could hurt Quetta.


    Players to watch out for

    Azam Khan and Tom Banton could form an interesting and explosive duo in the Quetta batting line-up. Both have the potential to single-handedly win matches and providing they can show a little more discipline with the bat, they could have excellent tournaments. In Azam, Quetta have an improving cricketer who has shown that he has the ability to clear the rope with ease and upset any opposition bowling line-up. With Banton around, he could be the perfect foil for Azam at PSL6.


    Verdict

    Whilst the Gladiators squad has a lot of experience, some exciting youngsters and consistent performers, they will need to be brave if they are to challenge the top teams this time around. The squad has an average look about it and their tactics and selections will have to be top notch if they are to reach their fourth PSL final. Will they be brave enough to drop Sarfaraz Ahmed and pick Azam Khan as the wicket-keeper, will Naseem Shah fire after his horrible tour of New Zealand, will the older and experienced players have the desire and the legs to raise their game once again in a T20 tournament? There are a lot of questions about the squad and perhaps that will mean that it could be another frustrating tournament for them.


    Full Squad:

    Quetta Gladiators (retained) – Abdul Nasir (silver); Anwar Ali (silver, successful relegation request); Arish Ali Khan (emerging); Azam Khan (gold); Ben Cutting (diamond); Cameron Delport (silver); Chris Gayle (platinum); Dale Steyn (supplementary); Mohammad Hasnain (diamond); Mohammad Nawaz (diamond); Naseem Shah (gold); Qais Ahmed (silver); Saim Ayub (emerging) Sarfaraz Ahmed; Tom Banton (both platinum); Usman Khan (supplementary); Usman Shinwari (gold) and Zahid Mahmood (silver, brand ambassador); Faf du Plessis (partial replacement for Chris Gayle)
    Last edited by MenInG; 16th February 2021 at 21:40.


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