A different team, a different captain, and Peshawar Zalmi are all set to rediscover their best in the Pakistan Super League. For the first time in 8 years, they will play without their best batsman, Kamran Akmal, who is the 2nd-highest run scorer in PSL history. Peshawar have also said goodbye to the veteran batsman Shoaib Malik, and Wahab Riaz is no longer their captain.
But, the Zalmi fans are thrilled to see the superstar Babar Azam on their side, who is also set to lead them in the tournament. Almost all of their overseas players are different from the previous season. Let’s deep dive into their squad to know more about their chances in the upcoming PSL.
Peshawar Zalmi Squad Breakdown
Batsmen: Babar Azam(c), Saim Ayub, Haseeb Ullah, Mohammad Haris(wk), Tom-Kohler Cadmore, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Rovman Powell, Jimmy Neesham, Sherfane Rutherford, Haris Sohail
All-Rounders: Danish Aziz, Aamir Jamal
Fast-Bowlers: Wahab Riaz, Salman Irshad, Arshad Iqbal, Khurram Shahzad, Richard Gleeson
Spinners: Mujeeb ur Rahman, Usman Qadir, Sufyan Muqeem
PZ Squad Strengths
Let’s take a look at the major strengths of the Zalmi side:
A Reliable Top-Order
Image 1: wisden.com
Although it’s hard to guess the top 3 players who will feature in Peshawar’s playing XI, we can still predict that the team will play with a solid top order. Their options for the top 3 batting slots include Babar Azam, Haseb Ullah Khan, Saim Ayub, Mohammed Haris, Haris Sohail, and Tom-Kohler Cadmore. Out of these 6 blokes, only Babar Azam and Mohammed Haris are certain to play.
Considering the form of Saim Ayub in the recent domestic season, he might open the innings with his skipper. Mohammed Haris, who batted at #3 for Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022, is likely to bat at the same position in the PSL as well. Babar might be asked to play the anchor’s role in this top-order. He has scored the highest number of runs in PSL history while playing the same role. The two youngsters will play in their natural aggressive way, and it forms a perfect trio for the yellow team.
Image 2: skysports.com
The great thing about the Zalmi squad is that even if they lose a couple of early wickets, they have got those guys in the middle order who can take the game away from the opposition in no time. Tom-Kohler Cadmore is an excellent T20 player who usually opens the innings. However, he is more than capable of delivering in the middle order as well. He may feature at #4 for the Peshawar Zalmi side.
Rovman Powell and James Neesham could play the finisher role for Zalmi while batting at #5 and #6, respectively. They have the ability to go big at the death and change the complexion of the game. If there will be a need for a few quick runs from the lower order, then the all-rounders Aamir Jamal and Wahab Riaz will be there to do the job.
PZ Squad Weaknesses
There’s just one big flaw in Zalmi’s squad, which is discussed here:
Fragile Bowling Lineup
Image 3: geo.tv
By looking at Peshawar’s squad, it’s easy to say they don’t have a great bowling lineup. The 37-year-old Wahab Riaz will lead the pace attack, who is at the twilight of his career. He will be partnered by two inexperienced pacers, Salman Irshad and Aamir Jamal. They also have the option to include Arshad Iqbal or Khurram Shehzad.
England’s Richard Gleeson is also in the squad, but it will be hard for him to get preference for an overseas slot. Out of all these fast-bowling options, there is not even a single new ball specialist. In T20 cricket, wicket upfronts are an absolute key, and Peshawar will likely struggle in that aspect.
Considering their fast bowling, it’s almost certain for Mujeeb ur Rahman to take the new ball from one end. He is one bowler on this side who can certainly make early inroads. Along with him, Usman Qadir will be their go-to bowler in middle overs. The leggie struggles with his line and length, and it can cause some serious trouble for Peshawar. A young spinner, Sufyan Muqeem, is also there, but he is yet to make an impression at this level.
Ideal Starting XI
While looking at the Peshawar Zalmi squad, here’s what their starting XI may look like:
- Babar Azam(c)
- Saim Ayub
- Mohammad Haris(wk)
- Tom-Kohler Cadmore
- Rovman Powell
- Jimmy Neesham
- Aamir Jamal
- Wahab Riaz
- Usman Qadir
- Mujeeb ur Rahman
- Salman Irshad
Performance Prediction for Peshawar Zalmi
Image 4: thesportsrush.com
After all the analysis, we can say that Peshawar have plenty of quality batting resources available. The top-order is sound, while the middle and lower-middle order can take any bowling lineup to the cleaners. They also have solid backups like Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Sherfane Rutherford. So, the batting order looks stable and destructive.
In contrast, their bowling doesn’t seem capable of complimenting their bowling. There’s a lot of inexperience in both the pace and spin departments. Bearing all these things in mind, we expect them to finish in the 4th position in the points table. In the playoffs, it’s unlikely for them to progress to the finals.