Friday Sep 16 2022

Pak vs Eng: 11 out of 20 England cricketers have played in Pakistan before, thanks to PSL

(L to R) Phil Salt, Alex Hales, and Dawid Malan. — Sussex Cricket/PSL/Twitter/File
(L to R) Phil Salt, Alex Hales, and Dawid Malan. — Sussex Cricket/PSL/Twitter/File

BIRMINGHAM: The England cricket team has reached Pakistan on a historic tour to play a seven match T20I series. This is England’s first tour of Pakistan in 17 years — the last time England visited Pakistan was in 2005.

A 20-member squad is led by Jos Buttler whereas Moeen Ali will be deputising him as vice captain. Five uncapped players have also been included in the English squad for the tour to Pakistan: batsmen Jordan Cox and Will Jacks alongside seamers Tom Helm, Olly Stone and Luke Wood.

Although for many players in the English squad, including captain Jos Buttler, this will be their first visit to Pakistan, interestingly, 11 out of 20 players of the squad have actually played in Pakistan before. This is thanks to the Pakistan Super League, the premiere T20 cricket league of Pakistan, and also currently one of the top leagues in the world.

In the last few seasons, a record number of English players have participated in the PSL for various franchises, especially in the most recent season where 27 English players ended up featuring in the PSL.

Flamboyant batters Dawid Malan and Phil Salt are actually among those English players who starred in the PSL in many seasons before making their international debut for England.

Malan, who currently plays for Yorkshire, first appeared in PSL in 2016 in the inaugural edition of the PSL. Malan stayed with the Zalmi squad for the following season too, when the team won the tournament for the first time. Later that year, Malan made his international T20 debut for England, followed by his Test debut. Malan was picked again by Peshawar Zalmi for the PSL’s 2019 edition. The last time he featured in the PSL was in 2020 for Islamabad United.

Lancashire’s Phil Salt first played in the PSL back in 2018, when he was picked by Lahore Qalandars. Salt later featured for Islamabad United in the following few seasons before making his ODI debut against Pakistan in 2021. In 2022, after making his international T20 debut for England, he returned to Lahore Qalanadars. This time Lahore Qalandars ended the tournament as champions by winning the seventh edition of the PSL.

Opener Alex Hales and all rounder Liam Dawson have featured many times in the PSL representing different franchises.

Nottinghamshire’s Hales, has, in fact, been a regular part of the PSL editions for the last few years. The dashing opening batter, who is making a come back to the England national team after last playing an international game back in 2019, played for Islamabad United in the 2018 and 2019 editions of the PSL. He also starred for Karachi Kings in the PSL5. Hales returned to the Islamabad United squad in 2021 and also featured for United in the PSL7.

Hampshire’s Liam Dawson has been to Pakistan many times before. The all rounder, part of England’s ODI World Cup winning squad, first featured in the PSL in 2018 and stayed with Zalmi for the 2019 and 2020 season too. In 2022, Dawson featured for the Islamabad United in the PSL7.

The England team’s vice captain Moeen Ali has also played in Pakistan before. Birmingham-born Moeen, who is of Pakistani heritage, was part of the Multan Sultans squad in the 2020 edition of the PSL. Before leaving for Pakistan, in an exclusive interview with Geo News, Moeen said that he enjoyed playing at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

“I really enjoyed my time in Multan as I have never been to Multan before. It’s not only a good wicket but also a brilliant home crowd. All grounds I played on are good but in Multan, it was really fun,” said the English all rounder.

Other English players who have featured in the various seasons of the PSL are Harry Brook, Luke Wood, David Willey, Will Jacks, Reece Topley, and Ben Duckett.

Yorkshire’s Harry Brook featured in the PSL7 earlier this year for Lahore Qalandars. Brook scored a scintillating century against Islamabad United in the tournament, his maiden in T20 cricket. He also played an important knock in the final against Multan Sultans, scoring 41 of 22 balls, which helped Lahore Qalandars become champions of the PSL for the first time.

Nottinghamshire’s Ben Duckett has featured twice in the PSL. Left-handed Duckett first played in the PSL for Islamabad United in 2017. Duckett returned in the 2022 edition of the PSL and played for Quetta Gladiators but left the tournament mid way citing bubble fatigue.

Surrey’s Will Jacks also featured in the PSL 2022 for the first time. All-rounder Jacks joined the Islamabad United squad as a replacement half way in the tournament.

Lancashire’s Luke Wood is another player who featured in this year’s PSL for the first time. Wood, who was picked by Quetta Gladiators, withdrew from the tournament due to an injury after playing just one game.

Reece Topley has also played in Pakistan earlier this year in the PSL. The left arm pacer represented Islamabad United in the PSL7.

Yorkshire’s David Willey has visited Pakistan too this year, to play in the PSL. Son of former English international umpire Peter Willey, seamer Willey starred for Multan Sultans who made it to the finals of the PSL for the second year in a row, only to lose against eventual champions Lahore Qalandars.

On Thursday, shortly after arriving in Karachi, the English captain Jos Buttler held a press conference. During the presser, Buttler mentioned that the experience gained by many players who have played in the PSL will help the English team.

“It's great to be back as England after a long time. Many of our players have played in the PSL and shared positive experiences of being here and more than anything, how much the public here love cricket," said Buttler.

England are set to take on Pakistan on Tuesday, September 20, in the first of the seven match T20I series, at Karachi’s National Stadium.