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It will be hard to beat Lahore Qalandars this season: Raja

The 57-year-old believed that the Sohail Akhtar-led unit have all the components to turn things around after their horrible run in the previous editions

PHOTO: Reuters

Pakistan’s former opener-turned-commentator Ramiz Raja, in a Youtube video on Friday, claimed that it would be really tough for franchises to beat the Lahore Qalandars in the upcoming season of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The former batsman pointed out players that he feels provide the franchise with the balance to succeed in the upcoming event.

“Qalandars have two definite match winners [Chris Lynn and Haris Rauf]. Fakhar Zaman is coming into this PSL after some hard work. He will be in the spotlight. They have included Farzan Raja who is a new leg-spinner. I have heard he bowls well. I think a leg-spinner is needed in all formats. Then there is Shaheen Shah Afridi. He can swing the ball both ways and has become the poster boy for the franchise. Usman Shinwari provides another left-arm angle as well. They have a balanced bowling attack which will also have experience. I think it will be hard to beat them this season,” Raja said.

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The 57-year-old believed that Lahore Qalandars have all the components to turn things around after their horrible run in the previous editions of the HBL PSL.

“Everyone is asking the question, what will Lahore Qalandars do this year? The last four seasons have been very tough for them. This year could be very different for them. They will be playing many of their matches at their home ground. They have a very strong fanbase who will back their side. They have almost as big of a fanbase as the Karachi Kings,” he said.

Raja also shed light on the player development program of the franchise that keeps churning out young talent that makes their mark instantly.

“Their development program is also going really well. They introduce players from the program into their team which is a noble cause. The best thing about this is that the developmental players prove to be very good ones,” he said.

The former batsman stated that the Qalandars lacked experience in the middle-order which could be tackled through their top-heavy batting attack.

“In the batting department, Qalandars have many players that prefer to play the new ball. This could be strength as well as a weakness. The middle-order does not seem too strong. They are lacking as far as experience is concerned which could have been taken care of by someone like AB de Villiers or Cameron Delport. They will face problems as far as the middle-order in concerned. But if it is Chris Lynn’s day, the Qalandars will not need a middle-order. He is a match winner,” he said.

Raja praised the skills of fast-bowler Haris Rauf who could single-handedly win matches for his franchise.

“The Qalandars team has a great bowling attack. They have Haris Rauf who has been in fine form in the BBL. He was selected in the national side based on his performances and now has become a different bowler entirely. He has variations and can bowl really quick. Just like Chris Lynn, he could help his side win any game,” he concluded.