The first edition of PSL has started and we – the fans – can barely contain our excitement. We have been watching international and our own stars play for leagues all over the world for far too long. Finally we can see them in colors of our favorite cities and teams we can relate with. It would be some spectacle: Gayle smashing sixes for Lahore, Peterson producing fireworks for Quetta, Watson bringing out his slog-sweep for Islamabad, Lala being Lala for Peshawar and Malik using his T20 acumen for Karachi. We are set for some exciting cricket.
But I hope the Pakistani young guns drafted alongside these legends are as excited as we are. Because for many of them, this event can become a turning point in their careers. That is, if they are willing to learn from the masters.
Pakistan always had the luxury of producing exciting young players. But recently, the river of talent seems to have dried a little. Upcoming players that make their way to the top, cannot establish their place in the side. There are many possible explanations, mine is that the talent is there but cricket has moved on. Ruman Raees, Nouman Anwar, Usama Mir, Aamer Yamin, Saad Nasim, Zia-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Ramiz Raja jr – these are the guys with serious talent. But the problem is the difference of standard between our domestic setup and international cricket.
T20 has introduced a new mindset. Cricket is now fast and aggressive but we seem to be stuck in the 90s and 2000s. One would think that this boom-boom format would suit our cricketers with naturally aggressive styles. And Pakistan was fantastic in initial T20 world cups. But our recent ODI and T20 results and their comparison with Test results show a different picture. We are ranked 8th and 7th in ODIs and T20s respectively while 4th in Tests.
Other countries that have strong leagues, prepare their talent for international cricket. We had no such league and our domestic setup didn’t prepare our young cricketers for international cricket. Hence the drop in our cricketing standards.
But PSL gives opportunity of a lifetime to these young guns. While they are sharing dressing rooms with these legends, they can learn a lot. How do these stars handle pressure? What are their professional ethics? How they work on their fitness? What is their attitude towards game? These are the things our youngsters have to learn to do well in the PSL in front of packed stadiums. After performing well in PSL, they’ll be ready to meet standards of international cricket.