Ramiz Raja identifies future T20 openers for national side

Former PCB chairman heaps massive praise on Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris

Sports Desk
Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris photographed during the fifth match of PLS 8 on February 18, 2023. — PSL
Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris photographed during the fifth match of PLS 8 on February 18, 2023. — PSL  

Former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ramiz Raja has highlighted two players he deems best suited to play as the national T20 side's future opening pair following the Pakistan Super League (PSL) clash between Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans.

During the fifth match of the PSL on Friday, Multan thrashed Peshawar by 56 runs in a one-sided clash at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

In a video on his YouTube channel, Ramiz Speaks, he said: "Saim Ayub and Mohammad Haris played destructive innings. Look, these two have great potential, and I think these two are the future opening pair of Pakistan T20I side."

However, the former cricketer also pointed out that the duo should've continued their well-built innings to complete the run-chase.

"But, after doing the hard work and setting the tempo, getting out is an injustice to their own talent. Somehow, they forget that you don't play such innings for the gallery but you have to continue it and win the match for your side," he said.

It must be noted that Peshawar kicked off their PSL campaign with a victory over Karachi Kings but, in their second match on Friday, they suffered a massive 56-run loss against Multan Sultans at the Multan Cricket Stadium.

Put to bat first, the home side posted a massive 211-run target before restricting the Babar Azam-led side to 154 runs in 18.2 overs, thanks to Rilee Rossouw's blistering knock of 75 runs and superb bowling of Usama Mir and Ihsanullah, who claimed three wickets each.

Raja also shed light on Peshawar's squad, claiming that the Yellow Storm are lagging behind because of their bowling.

"The story of the match was painful for Peshawar because Multan Sultans played great at their home, and a target of 210 runs is difficult for any batting side. Peshawar Zalmi have problems as they do not have a great bowling attack. And if the bowling is not great, there is pressure on the batting line-up," he said.

"Their batting line-up did well in the first six or seven overs but as soon as they lost three wickets, they lost their tempo and control and therefore the match.

"The bigger the margin of error will have a massive impact on Peshawar's net run rate, which will create problems in the qualifying period. If they keep the same bowling line-up, they will have to strengthen their batting more."

It is worth noting here that Peshawar Zalmi roped in Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shananka as a replacement for Sherfane Rutherford, who was ruled out of the event after sustaining an injury.

The all-rounder's arrival will strengthen Peshawar's both batting and bowling departments.

Zalmi will next lock horns with Quetta Gladiators at the National Bank Cricket Arena in Karachi on Monday, February 20.