This year's Pakistan Super League (PSL) is comprised of some talented and world-class cricketers, and here at Geo Super, we take a look at the national cricketers who would be key to their teams.
Babar Azam and Sharjeel Khan (Karachi Kings)
Babar who has recently won the ICC ODI Cricketer of the year award 2021, will be the centre of attention as he is now the skipper of Karachi King's as well.
Apart from the leading role, Babar, like in previous editions, will be his team's main batter this season and a lot will depend on his performance. The star batter ended as the leading run-getter in PSL 2021 with 554 runs.
Apart from Babar, the aggressive opening batter Sharjeel Khan will also be the player to watch out for courtesy of his belligerent batting ability, as he displayed in the last edition having notched a century.
Both together can prove to be the most destructive opening pair, with Babar holding the one end with his classy batting and Sharjeel enthralling the audience by showing his power-hitting skill at the other end.
Shaheen Shah Afridi and Fakhar Zaman (Lahore Qalandars)
After having won the ICC Cricketer of the Year Award 2021, Shaheen Shah Afridi will likely be under some pressure this year to outshine others as he has also been appointed as the skipper of Lahore Qalandars.
While, in terms of batting, Fakhar will be the backbone of Qalandars batting line-up. Being an experienced and aggressive batter, the Qalandars fans will expect Fakhar to hit boundaries for their team in crunch moments.
Both will have to carry the responsibility to perform for Qalandars in crucial moments and lead them to their maiden PSL title.
Mohammad Rizwan and Shahnawaz Dahani (Multan Sultans)
Rizwan, who has recently won the ICC T20 Cricketer of the Year Award, led Sultans to their maiden PSL title last year. He will not only have the pressure to defend the trophy, but he will be his team's go-to man as a senior batter and wicket-keeper.
Being the top scorer in the shortest format in 2021, Multan Sultans will expect Rizwan to continue his momentous form in the tournament.
Dahani, who hails from the small village of Larkana, impressed the cricket fanatics with some awe-inspiring performances in the last PSL season as he ended as the leading wicket-taker with 20 scalps and performed for his team on crucial junctures.
For Multan to defend their PSL title, both Rizwan and Dahani will have the burden on their shoulders to perform in different capacities.
Asif Ali and Azam Khan (Islamabad United)
United have several star players in their squad including skipper Shadab Khan and Hasan Ali but hard-hitter Asif Ali will be the one to watch out for in PSL 2022.
The right-handed batter made the headlines courtesy of his two crucial match-winning cameos in the T20 World Cup 2021.
Asif was criticized for only performing in the leagues, but he silenced his critics by taking Pakistan to victories against New Zealand and Afghanistan through his sensational sixes, and in this PSL as well, a lot will depend on him to play some crucial innings for United.
Azam, who will be playing for United after leaving Quetta, will also be the player to watch out for, as he possesses the sheer power-hitting ability. He had been criticized for playing under the shadow of his father Moin Khan, who is Quetta's coach, but playing for a different team this year, Azam can gather attention if he shows his true potential in this year's PSL.
Shahid Afridi and Naseem Shah (Quetta Gladiators)
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who is playing his last PSL, will be the focus as his fans will expect him to make the farewell edition a memorable one.
Pacer Naseem Shah rose to prominence with the ability to bowl at a good pace at the age of just 16 and also became the youngest bowler to take a hat-trick in Test cricket.
But, lately, he has been out of the team, and this time around he will be the player to watch out for due to his bowling skills and talent. Naseem will act as Quetta's crucial bowling weapon as Mohammad Hasnain is facing the bowling action issue.
Gladiators will bank on Naseem Shah's pace to win matches for them.
Haider Ali (Peshawar Zalmi)
Haider, rose to prominence during the PSL 2020 in which he showed glimpses of his sparkling talent as a young lad by playing some wonderful innings.
He started his international career in a grand style by scoring fifty (54) against England at Old Trafford in the T20 series in 2020, but his form took a slump.
But, being a developed player now, Haider has the opportunity to show his true worth as Zalmi will be depending a lot on him to perform for them in crucial circumstances as a talented middle-order batter.