The Afghanistan Premier League was indeed a great success with several international and Afghan stars participating. Indian fans also had a fair reason to follow the series as household names such as Rashid Khan, Chris Gayle, Shahid Afridi, Colin Munro and Brendon McCullum have all featured in the inaugural T20 event. With the IPL auction coming up and the franchise’s past success with Afghan players, we may see new names being picked from the APL.
The young Afghan batsman had set the stage on fire by smashing six sixes in a singular over. He is also the lone centurion in the league with a highest score of 124. Overall he made a total of 322 runs at an average of 32.20. What will further work in his favour is his stellar strike rate of 194 against good experienced bowling lineups in dusty UAE conditions. His hitting prowess and ability to amass big scores will definitely have caught the attention of teams and may fetch big bucks like the then relatively unknown Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
A pace bowling all rounder from Sri Lanka who represented Paktia Panthers turned out to be the tournament’s leading wicket taker with 17 scalps from 8 games at an average of 14.41. He also has a four wicket haul against his name and with an economy of 7.65 Isuru has impressed. He is also a handy batsman who can pitch in with useful runs. Though he is 30 and has limited International appearances, it won’t come as a big surprise should IPL teams decide to add options to their squad.
The aggressive opener and wicket keeper from Afghanistan almost made it into the IPL last season. 344 runs at an average of 43 and SR of 174 are numbers that no one can ignore. Having scored 4 half centuries he also tops the runs charts. With 27 sixes he is the joint highest six hitter in the tourney. Shahzad might turn out to be the surprise X factor as he has reasonable experience playing in India and also good returns in T20I. A side like SRH that have always invested in unrefined talent and reaped benefits might have him in their sights.
The leading wicket taker for league victors Balkh Legends had been sensational in the tournament.The 18 year old leg spinner snapped 15 wickets which included a 5 wicket haul. He has struck at an average of a little over 12 in the nine games he has played. To add to this deadly loot of wickets is a miserly economy of 6.26 making him a go to strike bowler. Afghanistan has become new hunting grounds for IPL talents after Rashid khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi had set great standards. Perhaps this year Qais will add to that list of spinners from Afghanistan
Ram Kumar Nair