Pakistan players have not played the IPL since the first season in 2008. However, with the emergence of the Pakistan Super League and blessed with unique talent, a number of Pakistani players have been popular and successful in other T20 leagues. With political ties as they are between India and Pakistan, it is unlikely that Pakistan players will feature in the IPL anytime soon. But, what if they could? Who would be the most wanted? And how much would they be worth? ESPNcricinfo put these questions to a number of IPL franchises:
Shadab Khan – Legspinner
T20 teams: Brisbane Heat, Islamabad United, Trinbago Knight Riders
Strengths: A wristspinner who can win matches on his own. The quick pace at which he delivers combined with the ability to turn the ball both ways makes Shadab a difficult bowler to handle. His googly, in particular, is a treat and few have picked it with any confidence. Shadab’s skills match that of Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan, who is equally hard to get away. Both bowl between 90-100kph and so batsmen hesitate in going down the pitch to attack, invariably allowing the likes of Shadab to bowl economical overs. He is also an outstanding fielder – probably Pakistan’s best – and easily saves the side 5-10 runs consistently. He is also a smart – and swiftly improving – lower-order batsman.
Role: An attacking option that can bowl in any phase of an innings
T20 numbers: 43 matches, 58 wickets, average 17.08, economy rate of 6.31, and strike rate of 16.2
Worth: INR 5-6 crore ($781,250 – $937,500 approx)
Hasan Ali – Fast bowler
T20 teams: Comilla Victorians, Peshawar Zalmi, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots
Strengths: Arguably the most exciting limited-overs bowler in the world in 2017, Hasan is a fighter of indefatigable spirit on the field. He regularly clocks 140-plus with the new ball, but his magic is especially potent in the middle overs (of ODIs) and then at the death where a broad set of variations – the slower ball, the slower bouncer, the knuckleball and finally a killer yorker – come into play. Additionally, he is solid in the field and, more often than not, good for a few big hits with the bat.
Role: Can open with the new ball and then return at the death to showcase his variations.
T20 Numbers: 54 matches, 70 wickets at an average of 20.41, economy rate of 7.32, and strike rate of 16.7
Worth: INR 3-5 crore ($468,750 – $781,250 approx)
Shoaib Malik – Batting allrounder
T20 teams: Barbados Tridents, Hobart Hurricanes, Karachi Kings, Comilla Victorians, Delhi Daredevils
Strengths: The most experienced T20 player currently playing for Pakistan, Malik is a calming presence in the middle order. Franchises are impressed by his intelligence on the field and his fitness. He rotates the strike constantly and can accelerate without too much difficulty, which helps maintain a handsome strike rate. He’s also an athletic fielder, especially good as a boundary-rider, and his ability to bowl part-time offspin – very handy on slower surfaces – makes him an all-round package.
Role: Bowl a couple of overs, and anchor the innings in the middle with over a decade of experience
T20 numbers: 293 matches, 7450 runs at 37.06, 127 wickets at an average of 25.92 with an economy rate of 6.99
Worth: INR 2-4 crore ($312,500 – $625,000 approx)
Mohammad Amir – left-arm fast bowler
T20 teams: Chittagong Vikings, Dhaka Dynamites, Karachi Kings
Strengths: Amir 2.0 might not be the young, dreamy prospect you remember but his street-smarts, his ability to read a batsman, and his experience, make him dangerous. Being a left-arm quick is always an advantage for a franchise, and if you have the pace – as Amir does – then you’re hot property. In swinging conditions, Amir can make the ball talk and create angles that are not easy to counter. His biggest strength, however, is that he can swing the ball both ways at pace, and can be useful at the death.
Role: Swing bowler in the Powerplay and death-over specialist.
T20 Numbers: 95 matches, 111 wickets at an average of 21.21, economy rate of 6.68 and strike rate of 19.
Worth: INR 3-6 crore ($468,750 – $937,500 approx)
Faheem Ashraf – Bowling allrounder
T20 teams: Pakistan. Yet to play franchise-based cricket
Strengths: An emerging talent, Ashraf has not played in any T20 leagues yet, but scouts like that Ashraf can bowl consistently at 135 kph, as well as hit a big ball. Quality allrounders are still in short supply in the IPL and franchises are always on the lookout for players who can fill two roles. Ashraf’s fledgling skills means he’ll be viewed as an investment for the future.
T20 numbers: 135 runs from 23 matches at a strike rate of 128.57, bowling average of 29 after 20 matches with an economy rate of 8.24
Worth: INR 1-2 crore ($156,250 – $312,500 approx)
Stats inputs from Gaurav Sundararaman.