PSL 2022 team guide: Quetta Gladiators

The Cricketer's deep dive into the Quetta Gladiators setup ahead of the new Pakistan Super League season

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Coach: Moin Khan

Former Pakistan wicketkeeper-batter Moin Khan has served as head coach of Quetta Gladiators from the very start, winning the competition in 2019 and reaching the final on two other occasions. However, the Gladiators failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2020 and 2021.

Captain: Sarfaraz Ahmed

Only one player has skippered Quetta Gladiators in the PSL and that’s wicketkeeper-batter Sarfaraz Ahmed. The 32-year-old has led the Gladiators on 62 occasions and lifted the title in 2019. He is also the current holder of the franchise’s run and wicketkeeping records, with 1,189 runs and 39 dismissals in seasons 1-6.

Overseas stars

James Vince: A familiar face in the PSL, top-order batter James Vince has previously represented Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans, scoring 671 runs at a strike rate of 135.80 in 25 appearances. A highly regarded power hitter and opener, he has won the Big Bash (Sydney Sixers), PSL (Multan Sultans) and The Hundred (Southern Brave) since the start of 2021 as well as captaining Hampshire to T20 Blast Finals Day. He will miss the start of the tournament due to international duty with Will Smeed signed as a partial replacement.

Jason Roy: Returning to Quetta Gladiators for a second stint is England international Jason Roy. Like Vince, he’s a powerful opening batter and possesses a T20 strike rate in excess of 140. He’s lacked consistency on the franchise circuit but won the Golden Bat award at the 2020-21 Big Bash and scored 459 at 35.30 in his previous three seasons with the Gladiators.

James Faulkner: Australia international James Faulkner was one of the standout bowlers of PSL6, taking 13 wickets and conceding just 6.5 runs per over in six appearances for Lahore Qalandars. He also chipped in with 90 runs at 169.81 in his debut PSL season. An explosive, pace-bowling allrounder with experience of the Big Bash, IPL, and T20 Blast and 24 international caps in the format, Faulkner’s arrival should bring some much-needed wickets to Quetta.

Luke Wood: Signed as a full replacement for Naveen-Ul-Haq, who withdrew for personal reasons, Lancashire’s Luke Wood is embarking on his first stint in an overseas T20 league. A fast bowler, Wood showcased his ability in the powerplay during The Hundred, being frequently called upon to bowl the opening five or ten deliveries by Trent Rockets, while a recent stint with Bangla Tigers in the Abu Dhabi T10 yielded seven wickets.

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James Vince has previously played in the PSL for Multan Sultans (Amir Ali/AFP via Getty Images)

Ben Duckett: One of five English players in the Quetta squad, Ben Duckett is a left-handed top-order batter and wicketkeeper. A consistent performer, the 27-year-old has scored 300-plus runs four times in the past six editions of the T20 Blast and has a career strike rate of in excess of 130 in the format. He’ll arrive in the PSL with considerable match play under his belt after spending the winter with Brisbane Heat.

Dan Lawrence: Picked up as a supplementary signing, batter and part-time spinner Dan Lawrence has a promising record in the T20 Blast, scoring 1,528 runs at a strike rate of 142.13 for Essex. However, his experience of overseas franchise tournament is limited to four appearances for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash.

Will Smeed: Signed as a partial replacement for Vince, Will Smeed is one of white-ball cricket’s rising stars. He showcased his explosive hitting in his second T20 appearance, smashing 82 runs off 49 balls for Somerset, while in The Hundred, he scored 166 runs at a strike rate of 172.91.

Shimron Hetmyer: West Indies international Shimron Hetmyer will cover for Roy during his international commitments. An explosive batter and boundary fiend in his own right, Hetmyer is a handy middle-order finisher and has fulfilled this role for West Indies, Delhi Capitals and Guyana Amazon Warriors among others.

Noor Ahmad: Teenage Afghan spinner Noor Ahmad made his PSL debut in 2021, taking four wickets and recording an economy of 7.53 for Karachi Kings. He has fewer than 50 T20 appearances to his name but has already featured in the Big Bash and Lanka Premier League. Ali Imran will serve as a partial replacement for Ahmad.

Changes from 2021

Quetta Gladiators retained Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah ahead of the December’s draft while James Vince, Shahid Afridi (both Multan Sultans) and Iftikhar Ahmed (Islamabad United) arrived as trades – Azam Khan replaced the latter at Islamabad. Roy, Duckett, Wood, Noor Ahmad, Faulkner and Hetmyer are all new overseas faces for PSL7 while Faf du Plessis is the biggest departure from the 2021 squad.

How did they do in 2021?

Quetta Gladiators endured a woeful PSL 6, winning just two matches – against Lahore Qalandars and eventual champions Multan Sultans – to finish bottom of the table. Since lifting the title in 2019, the Gladiators have won just six matches out of a possible 20.

Best finish: Champions (2019)

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England opener Jason Roy (Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)

BATTING

Power hitters

Jason Roy and James Vince need little introduction in this category. Together, they have scored over 1,500 fours and 400 sixes in T20 cricket. Roy, in particular, is more than capable of going from ball one, with a career strike rate in excess of 140 in the format. However, in their absence, young Will Smeed has the perfect opportunity to showcase his power-hitting to a new audience. The 20-year-old heads to Pakistan with 645 career T20 runs, 31.6 per cent of which have come from sixes.

And then there’s Iftikhar Ahmed. He endured a lean season for Islamabad United in 2021 but lit up the National T20 Cup, scoring 409 runs at a strike rate of 170.41 and a competition-leading 24 sixes for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Anchor

Though capable of scoring at a fair lick (his T20 strike rate is around 135), Ben Duckett’s composure lends itself to an anchor. He averages around 30 in T20s but has scored 22 half-centuries in the format. Sarfaraz Ahmed could take on this role. He has a strike rate around 130 and averages around 30 in T20s.

Finisher

Quetta Gladiators have a couple of options here with Faulkner, Lawrence and Hetmyer all available to fill this role. Faulkner (90 runs at 169.81) has previous in this department in the PSL while Lawrence has a strike rate around 140 and Hetmyer has performed in this role in both the CPL and IPL.

However, they may not be needed if Iftikhar Ahmed can replicate his 170.41 strike rate from the National T20 Cup. If you still need convincing of his credentials, he scored 45 (17) and 45 (19) in the semi-final and final of the competition to help Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the title.

Problem areas

Quetta Gladiators might find themselves in a tight spot at the start of the tournament without Vince or Roy. Smeed is a talent but he’s only 20 and who he partners at the top isn’t obvious – Duckett maybe? Also, while they have options in the finisher department, there are also problems. Iftikhar is yet to shine in the PSL (his strike rate in the competition is 115.97),

Lawrence has limited overseas experience, and Hetymer is both a partial signing and yet to perform in the PSL. Letting middle-order wrecking ball Azam Khan go might come back to haunt them.

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Mohammad Hasnain's action has come under scrutiny at the Big Bash (Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images)

BOWLING

Speed merchants

Mohammad Hasnain is the star of this bowling attack. The 21-year-old took a team-leading nine wickets in PSL6 and already has 17 T20I wickets in 18 appearances despite his tender age. A dynamic powerplay bowler, he lit up the Big Bash with a triple-wicket maiden on debut for Sydney Thunder. His bowling action has been the subject of an investigation in the BBL.

The arrival of Faulkner is a huge boost for the Gladiators. He bowls left-arm medium-fast, has bags of variation up his sleeves, and experience of both international cricket and several franchise leagues. Wood, meanwhile, offers a left-arm fast option to complement Hasnain and could be well utilised in the powerplay and at the death.

Naseem Shah is the pick of Quetta’s young pacers, taking nine wickets and conceding eight an over in the recent National T20 Cup, but Ghulam Mudassar and Khurram Shehzad – who took seven wickets in PSL7 – are good options. 37-year-old Sohail Tanvir, formerly of Multan Sultans, is the elder statesman.

Variation

Mohammad Nawaz carried the spin workload last season, taking six wickets and posting an economy of 7.5 with his left-arm orthodox bowling.

As mentioned, Noor Ahmad is an exciting young talent and offers something a little different with his left-arm wrist spin – he enters the tournament with 33 wickets in 33 T20s – while at the other end of the age spectrum, 41-year-old Shahid Afridi brings bags of experience to Quetta. The right-arm leggie has just shy of 350 career T20 wickets to his name and a PSL economy of 6.97.

Through infrequently seen in the PSL, Iftikhar Ahmed is a useful part-time off-spinner. He picked up eight wickets in 19 overs for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the National T20 Cup.

Problem areas

Quetta Gladiators bowled their opponents out just twice in PSL6 but didn’t appear to have bowling as a priority at the main draft or subsequently. Faulkner is a solid addition and should reduce their overreliance on Hasnain.

Wood, however, has never played in the PSL while Noor Ahmad is just 17 years old. Shah and Shehzad too, though promising talents, are also young and relatively inexperienced. As for Tanvir and Shahid Afridi, both offer lots of experience but are no longer the threats they once were. Question marks remain about Quetta’s bowling attack.

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Naseem Shah is a fierce young fast bowler (Asif Hassan/AFP via Getty Images)

FIELDING

Who takes the gloves?

Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed is the only player to ever stand behind the stumps for Quetta Gladiators, keeping wicket in all 62 matches. He has completed 39 dismissals in this period (29 catches and 10 stumpings) and is third in the all-time standings behind Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Rizwan. Ben Duckett is his understudy.

Squad: James Vince, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Jason Roy, James Faulkner, Umar Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Ben Duckett, Khurram Shehzad, Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Muhammad Ashar Qureshi, Noor Ahmad, Ahsan Ali, Luke Wood, Ghulam Mudassar, Dan Lawrence

Partial replacements: Will Smeed (James Vince), Ali Imran (Noor Ahmad), Shimron Hetmyer (Jason Roy)

Fixtures: January 28 – Peshawar Zalmi (Karachi, 2pm GMT), January 29 – Karachi Kings (Karachi, 2pm), January 31 – Multan Sultans (Karachi, 2pm), February 3 – Islamabad United (Karachi, 2pm), February 7 – Lahore Qalandars (Karachi, 2pm), February 12 – Islamabad United (Lahore, 2pm), February 13 – Lahore Qalandars (Lahore, 2pm), February 15 – Peshawar Zalmi (Lahore, 2pm), February 18 – Multan Sultans (Lahore, 10am), February 20 – Quetta Gladiators (Lahore, 9am)

Possible starting XI: James Vince, Jason Roy, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Ben Duckett, Iftikhar Ahmed, James Faulkner, Mohammad Nawaz, Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Khurram Shehzad, Naseem Shah

OTHER PSL7 TEAM GUIDES (open in external window in app)

Islamabad United

Karachi Kings

Lahore Qalandars

Multan Sultans

Peshawar Zalmi

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