Lahore Qalandars’ skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi was appointed as captain of the Team of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023 by an independent panel headed by technical committee chairman Haroon Rashid.
The panel also included commentators Bazid Khan, Daren Ganga, Nick Knight and Sana Mir as members.
While selecting the side, the independent panel considered a number of T20 cricket aspects, including consistency, impact on the side and overall game, and best possible team combination so that this team can take on any T20 side on any given day at any venue in any conditions.
Afridi inspired Qalandars to finish on top of the points table with seven wins, then helped his side to bounce back from a Multan Sultans drubbing in the qualifier by overcoming Peshawar Zalmi in Eliminator 2, and, finally slapped a 15-ball 44 not-out and took four for 51 to not only walk away with the player of the final award but also guided his side to their second successive PSL title.
This is the fourth successive year Afridi has made it to the exclusive side since the PSL teams’ concept which was introduced in 2019.
The side also includes Sultans’ players Abbas Afridi and Ihsanullah, who won the Emerging and Player of PSL 8 awards, respectively.
Like the Multan duo, it is also the first time for Mohammad Haris and Azam Khan to be selected for the team of the tournament.
Overall, the side includes five players from losing finalists Sultans, two players each from Qalandars and Zalmi, and one player each from Islamabad United and Karachi Kings.
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam have been selected as openers, with Haris, Rilee Rossouw, Azam and Kieron Pollard forming a formidable middle order. Imad Wasim, who has been picked in the Team of PSL for the first time, comes in as an all-rounder, followed by wrist spinner Rashid Khan and three fast bowlers in Afridi, Ihsanullah and Abbas.
This is the fourth time in five years Babar has been selected as an opener, though the first time was with his partner Rizwan, who himself has been chosen in the team of the tournament for the third successive time.
Team of PSL 8 (in batting order)
Mohammad Rizwan (Multan Sultans) (550 runs, 1×100, 4×50, strike-rate 142.85)
Babar Azam (Peshawar Zalmi) (522 runs, 1×100, 5×50, strike-rate 145.40)
Mohammad Haris (Peshawar Zalmi) (350 runs, 2×50, strike-rate 186.17)
Rilee Rossouw* (Multan Sultans) (453 runs, 1×100, 3×50, strike-rate 171.59)
Azam Khan (Islamabad United) (282 runs, 2×50, strike-rate 161.14)
Kieron Pollard* (Multan Sultans) (260 runs, 2×50, strike-rate 163.52; 3 wickets, 8.62 eco.)
Imad Wasim (Karachi Kings) (404 runs, 3×50, strike-rate 170.46; 9 wickets, 7.93 eco.)
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Lahore Qalandars) (captain) (133 runs, strike-rate 168.35; 19 wickets, 9.13 eco.)
Rashid Khan* (Lahore Qalandars) (20 wickets, 6.53 eco.)
Abbas Afridi (Multan Sultans) (23 wickets, 9.45 eco.)
Ihsanullah (Multan Sultans) (22 wickets, 7.59 eco.)
Saim Ayub (Peshawar Zalmi) (341 runs, 5×50, 165.53)
*denotes overseas players