If one is looking at a set template of success in T20 leagues, the obvious example was Chennai Super Kings. Aside from the issues regarding spot fixing and owner’s dubious acts, on field, Dhoni created a legacy like no other. From 2008 to 2015, they won 2 titles and reached 4 finals. Granted their finals record could have been better but still this is an outstanding record. What was this record built upon? Perhaps the strong Indian core of players. In Dhoni, Raina, Ashwin, Jadeja, Vijay, they had a core group of players who were always available (unlike internationals), and understood the conditions.
— Islamabad United (@IsbUnited) February 19, 2018
While, Pakistani players are not on that development scale, Islamabad United have took up to sign up promising players and groom them for further. While, they went with experienced domestic performers in Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif (what can one say now), Asif Ali & Imran Khalid; they always tried to pick players on talent like Rumman Raees, Shadab Khan and now Shabzada Farhan. Rumman Raees before PSL 1 was a completely different bowler to what he is now. The same could definitely be said about Shadab Khan (PSL 2).
Going for my new career, first day of my coaching. Bowling coach @ Islamabad United in PSL3 pic.twitter.com/sojtp1PqvO
— Saeed Ajmal (@REALsaeedajmal) February 19, 2018
So, while the old core group of experience player phase out, including Misbah, the younger group will start to take place of seniors. The inclusion of Faheem Asharaf will help strengthen this group. Perhaps, Hussain Talat, Shabzada Farhan, or even Rohail Nazir will be Shadab Khan of PSL 3. The Chennai Super Kings contingent really helped the Indian team grow in white ball cricket. One would hope for something similar with Islamabad United and Pakistan.
As for the foreign contingent, their picks are as usual based on numbers of runs and wickets and not just star power. In Luke Ronchi, Andre Russell, Samuel Badre, Alex Hales, JP Duminy, David Willey, Sam Billings, Samit Patel and Steven Finn (its impossible to list who will play when), they have hard earned professionals of T20 leagues.
Only worry is the middle order as Duminy is out of form (and may not be available fully), Misbah may be out of touch a bit. However, in Samit Patel, they have an in form replacement plus with a bunch of all-rounders they will adapt to situations. They bat deep still have a strong bowling line up. It’s impossible almost predict these leagues but their squad is certainly the best in my opinion.