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HBL PSL 5: Ramiz Raja reveals his early end-of-season awards

The former opener named Multan Sultans skipper Shan Masood as the best captain of the HBL PSL 5

PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan’s former opening batsman Ramiz Raja, in a YouTube video on Saturday, revealed his early end-of-the-season awards for the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) season five, which has been postponed due to the current outbreak of the coronavirus around the globe.

The 57-year-old named Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars as the potential finalists while giving the edge to the Qalandars because of their momentum.

“My favorites were Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars for the final. Qalandars because they peaked at the right time. Their bowling has been good even if it has been patchy at times. Their batting however was clicking. If their bowling delivers on the day they can win matches, because no one has a fast-bowling attack like them. They have pace, variety and experience. I think they would have become champions,” Raja said.

The former opener named Multan Sultans skipper Shan Masood as the best captain of the HBL PSL 5 because of the way he led a new franchise in an immaculate manner.

“I was impressed with Shan Masood because he was leading a small franchise being a young and inexperienced leader, who has not led in the international arena. He was winning through his tactics and data. His captaincy was data specific. I was told that his process is great. He listens to everyone and does what his instincts tell him. Their selection was great as well because they added spinners to the side knowing the conditions. They built pressure through their bowling,” he said.

Raja chose all-rounder Samit Patel’s spell as the best of the tournament because of his control and impact on the game.

“There were many great spells. Shaheen Shah bowled some good ones. It is always hard to come back and take wickets in your next spell. Mohammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah bowled some good spells. But I think the best was Samit Patel spinning the ball the way he did. He was bowling on a spinning track but you still have to maintain your lines and speed while enticing the batsman to come forward to your deliveries. I think he took four wickets in four overs giving away four or five runs,” he said.

The former opener chose Shaheen Shah’s Yorker that dismissed batsman Moeen Ali as the best ball of the tournament.

“The ball of the tournament was undoubtedly bowled by Shaheen Shah to Moeen Ali. The Yorker was bowled at an angle coming in and swung out late. Bowling a Yorker with the new ball is always hard because of the lack of grip and to then bowl it with pinpoint accuracy was amazing,” he said.

The 57-year-old praised the catch taken by Shaheen Shah while running backwards as the best catch of the tournament.

“The fielding wasn’t too good overall. There were many lapses. One thing that the players in the PSL will have to work on is their fielding. The catch of the tournament for me was taken by Shaheen Shah in Rawalpindi running back and diving full length. When the ball goes above you it becomes harder so I think it was a phenomenal catch,” he said.

The former opener couldn’t choose a particular crowd as the best because of the energy of the people all over the country.

“The crowds in the PSL were amazing. They charged you up. Each venue had a different buzz. Crowds coming in will improve our cricket. Because players can gain the necessary exposure. The league is doing great in terms of bowling. I would want more batsmen to step up,” he said.

Raja chose Shaheen Shah as the bowler of the tournament while mentioning the impact of fast-bowler Dilbar Hussain in the tournament.

“The bowler I liked the most was Shaheen Shah. He is the most improved bowler who can ball in swing, his pace is up and the aggression is there as well. I would also pick Dilbar Hussain for the World Cup because he can deliver the ball at pace. I would want him to start focusing on bouncers as well. He tries to go for too many variations sometimes. He provides a different challenge for batsmen because of his small run-up,” he said.

The former opener named the pitch in Rawalpindi as the best pitch of the tournament because it was the most challenging pitch for the players.

“The best pitch of the tournament was in Rawalpindi since it provided the toughest conditions due to frequent rains. The ground staff there did an amazing job to help the matches take place. The pitches had bounce which is very important for batting and bowling. The crowds in Pindi were there even with the rains and cold weather which shows their commitment,” he said.

Raja believed that the match of the tournament was where batsman Ben Dunk hit an impressive 99 unbeaten, against Karachi Kings, and started the upward trend of the Lahore Qalandars.

“The match of the tournament was where Ben Dunk made his 99 not-out. It was an outstanding innings. The overall run-chase was just remarkable. They made around 13 runs-an-over for 15 overs straight. It was a magical match and a great run chase,” he concluded.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Cricket Pakistan.