Islamabad United have perhaps the best core of young Pakistani players. 21-year old Captain Shadab Khan has been terrific this season. In Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Amad Butt, Musa Khan, Rizwan Hussain, Zafar Gohar, Akif Javed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, and Saif Badar, they have the best young talent in the country.
Yet, the cutthroat nature of the league means that many of these players are not getting chances with any regularity. Asif Ali hasn’t had much of a chance due to the excellence and strength of the top order. If he has to make it back on the Pakistan side, he needs to play more than 45 balls in 7 matches. Zafar Gohar has only just come into the side after sitting out initial five matches. Amad Butt who is on the cusp on making the Pakistan side has been sidelined for three matches. The two emerging players have had a share of the matches. Yet Ahmed Safi’s performance merited a continued run in the side. Similarly, Hussain Talat has batted only twice and faced 29 balls in all. The story of Rizwan Hussain is not too dissimilar with only two innings. Saif Badar hasn’t played a single match yet.
Having a strong squad makes a world of a difference in the HBLPSL. Just ask Quetta Gladiators. It shows the strength and the wise ways of United at the draft. With the league being played in four different venues, you need a big enough squad as we saw from the square turner in Lahore. Nonetheless, their gain is perhaps detrimental to the players from a Pakistan point of view.
Perhaps a system could be derived where players could be loaned out amongst franchises. It would give bench warmers a chance to showcase their talents and push their own management to give them a chance in their own franchises.
Misbah the head coach and chief selector of Pakistan would be worried about the actions of the head coach of Islamabad United. Things might need a bit of tweaking next year.