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I disagree, Waqar Younis

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Pakistan_Super_League_PSLT20_official_logoRecently, Pakistan’s former deadly fast bowler and current coach, Waqar Younis has said that it will take about three to four years for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to produce players like Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli.

With all due respect, I disagree with him. Waqar has gone terribly wrong with this statement. He seems to be implying either that he was not interested in commenting about the PSL, or that he has not been following the news about cricket closely for some time.

The first thing that I want to tackle here is why he has directly compared the Pakistan Super League (PSL) to the Indian Premier League (IPL). Both are different leagues. One is the originator of all the cricket leagues played around the world now, while the other is in its infant stages but growing rapidly. The comparison doesn’t make sense at this point in time, but he has covered that well by mentioning the time span in which PSL will be producing players.

The IPL has surely produced some exceptional players for India: Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Manish Pandey and more, but Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are not among those. Virat and Rohit are players of a different class. It is simple enough to understand that. It is evident in their batting. It is evident in their performances. It is evident in their calm and composed knocks and it is evident in their match winning abilities.

 

It is a misconception that only T20 specialists can play T20s well.

Virat is now India’s Test captain. Rohit has two ODI double hundreds to his name. Virat is known as one of the best chasers in the world. Rohit has the highest individual ODI score to his name. Virat is the fastest batsman to 7000 ODI runs. Rohit is slowly becoming one of the best openers in the world. Now those are world class players we are talking about.

World class cricket players aren’t produced in lucrative T20 leagues. Had these leagues been producing such players, or for that matter even shaping such players, then the West Indies would have been the best team in the world right now.

Players like Rohit and Virat are not the products of such leagues. Players like them are talented from the start. The raw talent is then shaped up to be showcased to the world in the domestic circuits. T20 cricket has never produced players like them. The only one I can think of is David Warner, but he is one in a million and one of a kind.

Virat is a product of the Under 19 World Cup 2008, in which he captained his team to a trophy. Even during his younger days he was determined to make it to the top, so much so that he even came back for a Ranji Trophy match the day after his father’s death and scored a crucial knock. Rohit, on the other hand, has been a bit more gifted than Virat and has a tad more grace. He has a lazy elegance. Rohit and Virat are meant to be legends soon. One has already stamped his authority over world cricket while the other is on his way there.

Sarfraz Ahmed is a good example of a quality player from Pakistan. He has played many match-winning Test knocks for Pakistan in the recent past, and yet he is a complete ODI and T20 batsman. He was also appointed the Quetta Gladiators’ captain in the PSL, and took them to the final. Misbah-ul-Haq is another fine player who has been one of Pakistan’s modern greats in the Test arena, and is yet so effective in shortest format.

In the long term, players like Misbah and Sarfraz will be remembered as greats, and players like Imran Khan Jr. will only be remembered as specialists. Richard Levi from South Africa is another example of this kind of specialist. Unlike him, de Villiers and Amla belong to the great player category, the same way as Sarfraz and Misbah.

The point is that Pakistan has churned out great players for all formats even without the PSL and those players are great in real terms.

Waqar is wrong. The PSL will produce players of immense quality. The PSL will polish some young talents of Pakistan, and it will be good for those youngsters to share a dressing room with international stars. They will be more used to the pressure of international matches from the experience.

But there is no way that the PSL can produce players like Virat and Rohit. Players like them will have to come up the ranks through the proper system in Pakistan. T20 leagues never produce such cricketers.



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