PSL 8: SWOT Analysis of Lahore Qalandars
Pakistan Super League is gaining popularity with each edition and has provided people with the highest level of thrill in the past few years. Its 8th edition will start on February 13, 2023, while the final will be played on March 19, 2023. A total of six teams will contest in four different cities in Pakistan (Lahore, Karachi, Multan, and Rawalpindi). The replacement draft, which took place on Wednesday, has given the squads a near-final look. Here is the Lahore Qalandars squad SWOT analysis.
From a lethal bowling unit to a slightly inexperienced batting order. Lahore Qalandars, the side known for its brutal fast bowlers, talented emerging players, and exciting match-ups, will start its drive as the defending champions. After their tremendous win last year under Shaheen’s captaincy, they will like to repeat the same this time. Pakistan Super League was never a happy hour for the Lahore Qalandars and their fans until they named Pakistan ace Left-arm fast bowler Shaheen as their captain just before the start of the seventh edition of PSL.
Shaheen led “struggling” Qalandars to title win last year. Shaheen’s captaincy was downright impressive last year. Whether it was Shaheen cooling the nerves of young Zaman khan against Islamabad united to defend 12 in the final over, against Azam khan and Asif Ali, or it was Shaheen backing Hafeez throughout the tournament despite a good, poor show from the veteran batsman until PSL7 finale.
Talking about the team, the season players like Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Rashid Khan, and Fakhar Zaman will be the sharp weapons of the LQ. Lahore Qalander has chosen quite a decent squad, and here is an in-depth review of their team.
Strengths: Fiery bowling attack
Lahore Qalandars is labeled as the team with the best bowling lineup in the PSL, and rightly so, as they have bowlers like Shaheen, Rauf, and Rashid. All three stars are currently the best bowlers in the T20 circuit. Shaheen is deadly with the new ball, while Haris is considered a death-overs specialist.
Besides their main guns, young Zaman Khan, who showed good skills in the last edition, will be the one to watch out for. With Haris in the death overs and Rashid as their leading strike bowler in the middle overs, bases seem to be very much covered. With pitches more likely to be spin-friendly, all-rounders like Sikandar Raza and Dawson will play a vital role with the ball in hand. Over the years, we have seen how David Wiese played a golden arm role for Lahore with the ball. LQ bowling has all the varieties, a good fast bowling unit, a leg-spinner, an off-spinner, a left-arm spinner, and a few decent all-rounders.
Weakness: Inexperienced middle-order
Harry Brook, England’s emerging star and Lahore Qalandars’ aggressive middle-order batter from last year, will miss this year’s PSL edition due to national duty giving the franchise a massive blow before the start of the season. Pakistan veteran Muhammad Hafeez was released earlier by the Qalandars management. In the absence of two renowned middle-order batters, Qalandar’s batting looks shaky, especially against spinners in the middle overs.
Sikandar Raza is a good inclusion, but he is a lower middle-order batter. The question that Lahore Qalandars need to find an answer to will be who to play at the number 4 position. Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Hussain Talat, and Kamran Ghulam are all top-order batters, while David Wiese, Liam Dawson, and Sikandar Raza are low-order batters. Qalandars will need a batter who can bat both, with the new ball as well as against spinners. Number 4 is a crucial position, sometimes, you have to come in at 10/2, and sometimes you have to come after the powerplay to rotate the strike rate against spinners. Hafeez had both abilities; he was naturally an opener and a well-experienced middle-order batter. Harry brook could have filled Hafeez’s shoes, but his absence makes this problem more complex. It will be interesting to see who’ll fill Muhammad Hafeez’s role in this year’s PSL edition.
Every weakness also presents an opening for others. In the absence of Muhammad Hafeez and Harry Brook, Kamran Ghulam and Hussain Talat now have more responsibility. Still, they can use this as an opportunity to take up the third and fourth positions, respectively, and demonstrate to national selectors that they are versatile players who can play any role. Young players like Shawaiz Irfan and Mirza Tahir Baig also have the chance to showcase their talents on the big stage. The chance exists for Abdullah Shafique to demonstrate his abilities as a white-ball batter.
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The biggest threat to LQ this year would be the recent injuries of their two ace bowlers, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf, which adds a question mark on how they will rotate their vital fast bowlers to avoid further damage in the upcoming PSL.
Shaheen and Haris are the most promising fast bowlers in world cricket in the shorter format, and their absence would have adverse effects on the team.
Another weak spot is the absence of an experienced wicketkeeper. Although the franchise has Jordan Cox and young Shawaiz Irfan, both haven’t played at a significant level that too against top-notch bowling lineups. Especially when other teams have wicket-keeper batters like Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Azam Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mathew Wade and Mohammad Rizwan, the absence of a fine wicketkeeper for LQ can hurt their defense of the title a lot.
Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi ©, David Wiese, Abdullah Shafique, Harry Brook, Kamran Ghulam, Zaman Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Hussain Talat, Sikandar Raza, Liam Dawson, Dilbar Hussain, Mirza Tahir Baig, Ahmed Danlyal, Shawaiz Irfan, Jordan Cox, Jalat Khan, Ahsan Bhatti, Sam Billings, Shane Dadswell and Kusal Mendis.