With five years of Pakistan's premier sporting competition, the PSL (Pakistan Super League), done and dusted, the curtains have started to fall on the careers of some of the country's finest cricketers.
The likes of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have been immensely vocal about their desire to participate in the upcoming T20 World Cup. The duo are intent to continue playing in the PSL even after calling it a day in international cricket.
However, there are others who have gradually faded away from the Pakistan cricket circuit and have instead looked to ply their trade in the plethora of T20 leagues abroad. This is partly because the selectors back home have looked to blood young players. A few others, though, have been victims of their own doings.
In this article, we take a look at four players who may never again feature in the PSL again because of one or more of the aforementioned reasons.
Four players who may never feature in the PSL again
#1: Shahid Afridi
The enigmatic former Pakistan all-rounder, Shahid Afridi has been trotting around the globe playing in various T20 competitions over the years. Although, age has begun to catch up with him, affecting his agility and fitness, Afridi has still managed to keep his T20 stock high.
The advent of T20 Cricket resulted in a rapid rise in Afridi's value and he became a hot property for T20 franchises and the national team alike. He was named the Man of the Series in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 where Pakistan reached the final. Afridi also scored half-centuries in both the semi-final and the final of the 2009 T20 World Cup and inspired Pakistan to their maiden T20 World Cup glory.
In the first season of the PSL, Afridi was named the skipper of Peshawar Zalmi and was elevated to the position of President of the franchise after the conclusion of that edition of the competition.
After the second season of the PSL, however, Afridi left Peshawar for good and was appointed as the President of Karachi Kings, another PSL franchise, where he was also drafted as a player. The PSL stint with the Kings, too, didn't last long and Afridi then moved to Multan Sultans ahead of the 2019 PSL season where he stayed since.
Afridi has had a good run, both with bat and ball, in the PSL. In 44 matches that he has featured in across five editions of the PSL, the all-rounder has piled up 450 runs at an Afridi-esque strike rate of 158.45.
He has also taken 39 wickets in these games at a sublime average of just under 6.8, with 5/7 being his best figures in a PSL game. In fact, he was the second leading wicket-taker in the fifth edition of the PSL, where he scalped 13 wickets in nine games at an average of 18.92.
With progressing age, declining fitness, and his priority shifting towards other fields of life such as philanthropy, it is highly likely that the star all-rounder will hang up his boots from PSL before the next edition of the competition.
#2: Yasir Shah
Yasir Shah, a former number one Test bowler and the quickest to grab 200 wickets in the longest format of the game, has been copping some severe criticism of late for his unexpectedly long lean patch. He has been no way near his best for the last several months, be it limited-overs cricket or Test cricket.
Shah has been a mainstay of Pakistan's bowling line-up in Tests for the past half-decade or so but hasn't been able to replicate his magic in the shorter formats of the game. Despite being handed numerous chances, both with the Pakistan T20 team as well as in the PSL, the leg-spinner has never really made it big.
He has represented both Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi in the PSL but because of his inability to make an instant impact in the format, Yasir Shah has only featured in 27 matches across all editions of the PSL, taking 26 wickets.
In the recently concluded fifth edition of the PSL, Yasir Shah was drafted in as a replacement for the injured Mohammad Mohsin who was ruled out for the season. The leggie, however, managed to snap only three scalps in four games while conceding 112 runs.
At 34, Yasir Shah seems to be on the decline, especially in the shortest format of the game, and that may mean that the leg-spinner may not play in the PSL again.
#3: Sohail Tanvir
Sohail Tanvir emerged on the international scene more than a decade ago. With his wrong-footed leap and delivery stride, he broke a renowned stereotype attached to fast-bowling for decades. His quick-arm action, repertoire of slow-balls and bowling variations made him an instant hit in T20 cricket.
Tanvir has managed to feature in numerous T20 leagues around the globe. In fact, he is sixth on the list of most wickets in all T20 matches - preying 351 scalps in 336 matches - a remarkable feat in itself.
In October 2019, Tanvir emerged as the leading wicket-taker in the 2019-20 National T20 Cup, taking 14 wickets in seven matches.
His PSL exploits are right up there with some of the best bowlers in the league - 44 wickets in as many games at an economy rate of just under 7.5. Tanvir was the fourth-leading wicket-taker in the most recent edition of the PSL, taking 10 wickets against his name.
The 35-year-old, however, has had his share of fitness issues, especially a recurring knee injury that has afflicted his career. Tanvir may well decide to call it a day on all forms of cricket as he has fallen far behind many younger pacers in the pecking order.
It means that one might have seen the last of Sohail Tanveer as a player in the PSL.
#4: Umar Akmal
Umar Akmal burst onto the international scene and shot to prominence after a century in his debut Test match against a bowling attack that boasted the likes of Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond. He followed it up with a maiden ODI century in only his third one-day international away from home, which made him the first Pakistan player to achieve the feat.
However, the mercurial batsman has failed to build on his fabulous start, getting marred in a plethora of controversies both on and off the field. Umar Akmal has also had numerous fitness and disciplinary issues.
In 2010, he tried to feign an injury to skip a Test match and was subsequently handed a 6-month long suspension. In 2017, he got fined for questioning Junaid Khan’s absence in a domestic match and was also dropped after failing a fitness test before the 2017 Champions Trophy that Pakistan eventually won.
Moreover, he was also handed a three-month ban after publicly criticising Mickey Arthur's fitness policies. In early 2020, Akmal faced charges of misconduct.
Just like his international career, Akmal's PSL career has also slid downhill over the years and has since fallen apart now. He was bought by Lahore Qalandars in the inaugural season of the PSL where he performed well, ending up as the highest run-scorer in that edition of the competition after scoring 335 runs in seven matches.
He was retained by the Qalandars for two more editions of the PSL but his form slumped and he then joined Quetta Gladiators. Originally a part of the Gladiators' squad for the fifth edition of the PSL, Akmal was suspended a day before the tournament by the PCB and was later banned from all cricket for three years for failing to report a match-fixing approach.
This could well be the final nail in the coffin of the talented player and he may never feature in the PSL again.Published 30 Jun 2020, 23:54 IST