Eight Pakistan cricketers will feature in T20 Blast

The event will begin today (May 20)

By Imran Munawar/Saima Haroon
May 20, 2023
Shadab Khan and Shan Masood are among the Pakistan players who will be in action — AFP

BIRMINGHAM: Eight Pakistani players will feature in this year’s edition of the T20 Blast tournament. The event will commence on Saturday, May 20 at Birmingham’s Edgbaston stadium with a double-header.

This will be the 21st edition of the tournament, which was the first-ever T20 league when it started in June 2003 as a Twenty20 Cup.

Pakistan’s ace fast-bowler Shaheen Afridi, experienced pacer Hasan Ali, stylish left-hand opening batter Shan Masood, all-rounder Shadab Khan, left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar, leg-spinner Usama Mir and young guns Haider Ali and Zaman Khan will be in action in the tournament, which will last for nine weeks.

Shaheen Afridi

Left arm fast-bowler Shaheen Afridi has signed for Nottinghamshire Outlaws for this year’s T20 Blast. The 22-year-old has successfully led Lahore Qalandars twice to victory in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Previously, Shaheen briefly represented Hampshire Hawks in 2020. In a match against Middlesex, he took four wickets on four deliveries.

Shan Masood

Left-handed opening batter Shan Masood will lead Yorkshire Vikings in the tournament. He was the highest run scorer of last year’s tournament, after accumulating 547 runs, and led Falcons to the quarter-finals.

Hasan Ali

Experienced Test cricketer Hasan Ali has signed a contract with Warwickshire CCC for this season. Right-arm pacer Hasan will be in action for Birmingham Bears and likely to lead the pace attack along with Chris Woakes in the Blast.

Hasan Ali has featured for Peshawar Zalmi in the earlier editions of PSL but lately he’s been part of Islamabad United. He was also player of the tournament in ICC Champions trophy 2017.

Shadab Khan

All-rounder Shadab Khan struck a deal with Sussex Sharks for the entirety of Blast tournament. Shadab, who leads Islamabad United in PSL, played for Yorkshire in the T20 Blast last season.

He’s also captained Pakistan’s national team in a T20I series against Afghanistan in Sharjah this year.

Haider Ali

Derbyshire CCC has signed explosive batter Haider Ali for this county season. Haider will also feature for Derbyshire Falcons in the T20 Blast tournament. The 22-year-old Haider Ali has played 33 T20Is for Pakistan, while also representing Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings in the PSL.

Haider was drafted by Derbyshire coach Mickey Arthur, who’s also been appointed Director Pakistan men’s team.

Zafar Gohar

Left-arm spinner Zafar Gohar will be in action again for Gloucestershire CCC. He has cemented his place in the Gloucestershire fold, with his all-round performance in the last three seasons. He will be in action for Gloucester Gorillas in the Blast.

Zaman Khan

The 21-year-old pacer Zaman Khan has been drafted in by Derbyshire Falcons for the blast tournament. Young pace sensation Zaman who’s also a product of Lahore Qalandars players development program has recently made his international debut in the T20I series against Afghanistan. Zaman Khan, who hails from Chakswari AJK, was also part of the twice PSL winning franchise Lahore Qalandars.

Usama Mir

Leg-spinner Usama Mir is signed by Worcestershire Rapids to represent them in the opening phase of T20 Blast. Usama Mir has played six ODIs for Pakistan. He’s also featured for Karachi Kings and recently for Multan Sultans in the PSL. Usama was the fifth highest wicket-taker and helped Multan Sultans to reach in the final.

On the other hand, top English players will miss the initial few matches as they are currently busy in the Indian Premier League (IPL). England Test team captain Ben Stokes, who plays for Durham, ODI and T20 captain Jos Buttler, who plays for Lancashire Lightning, and newly-appointed captain of Birmingham Bears Moeen Ali will not be available for the first few matches.

Other English players who will miss the initial round of Blast matches due to their commitments with various IPL franchises are Joe Root, Adil Rashid and Harry Brooks for Yorkshire, Liam Livingstone and Phil Salt for Lancashire Lightning, Sam Curran and Reece Topley for Surrey, Mark Wood for Durham and David Willey for Northamptonshire.

Teams of all eighteen cricket counties will feature in the T20 Blast, which is divided into two groups — North and South.

Birmingham Bears, Derbyshire Falcons, Durham, Lancashire Lightning, Leicestershire Foxes, Northants Steelbacks, Notts Outlaws, Worcestershire Rapids, and Yorkshire Vikings are in the North group while Essex Eagles, Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Hampshire Hawks, Kent Spitfires, Middlesex, Somerset, Surrey, and Sussex Sharks are in the South group. Hampshire Hawks were the winners of last edition.

Each team in a group is scheduled to play fourteen games, seven of them at home and seven away. Top four teams from each group will make it to the quarter-finals. The two semi-finals and final will take place at Edgbaston on the same day, known as Finals Day on July 15.