Blog by: Vignesh
The 2012 edition of Champions League T20 featured the Sialkot Stallions, the first Pakistani team to take part in the tournament. The Stallions, led by Shoaib Malik, failed to reach the main round from the qualifiers.
The 2013 edition, which is scheduled to take place in India, also features a team from Pakistan. The Faisalabad Wolves, the winners of Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup 2012-13, has qualified for the CLT20 from the other side of the Wagah border.
Wolves had a decent run throughout the tournament and put in a spirited performance in the finals, where they defeated defending champions Sialkot by 36 runs with the help of a splendid knock by Asif Ali and some tight bowling by their bowlers.
Courtesy that win, the Wolves have made it to the qualifiers of CLT20 along with three more teams, out of with which only two progress to the next round. Wolves, led by Pakistan’s Test and ODI skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, is considered the weakest among all 12 teams participating in the tournament.
Here is an overall analysis of their chances in the tournament.
Coach: Naveed Anjum
Batsmen: Misbah-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Ali Waqas, Jahandad Khan, Farrukh Shehzad, Hasan Mahmood.
All Rounders: Imran Khalid, Khurram Shehzad.
Bowlers: Asad Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Ehsan Adil, Samiullah Khan, Waqas Maqsood, Ammar Mahmood.
Wicket Keeper: Mohammad Salman.
- Presence of world-class spinner Saeed Ajmal.
- Their skipper Misbah-ul-Haq is a veteran in this format, and his experience will come in handy for the team.
- Ehsan Adil and Asad Ali form a lethal bowling attack which can pose a threat to the opposition.
- The “unknown” factor (many players are not known to other teams) may work in favour of them.
- Over dependence on Misbah-ul-Haq and Saeed Ajmal.
- Remaining players lack experience and exposure at this level.
- Fielding is a huge concern.
- Chasing some huge totals could be a huge task for them.
The fortunes of Faisalabad Wolves in the 2013 CLT20 hugely lies on the shoulders of their local players. Their players are unknown to other teams, which can be a huge bonus for the Wolves. And at the same time, they lack experience and exposure at the top level. If they perform, then their team can do wonders, but if they fail to cash in on the opportunity, Wolves will return back home empty-handed. Excluding Misbah and Ajmal, other players of the 15 member squad have played just 21 matches between them for Pakistan.
Players to watch out for:
Misbah-ul-Haq may be the skipper of Pakistan cricket team, yet he has more critics in his own country. Despite the constant Tuk-Tuk comments against him, he still performs in each and every match he plays for his side. He may be out of the national T20 side, but he is the core of the Pakistani and Wolves’ batting line up. He can play the waiting game, rotate the strike in middle overs and start attacking when needed to do so.
Saeed Ajmal has been Pakistan’s bowling trump card over the past three or four years. He has been their strike bowler in all three formats of the game. He bowls a tight line, cramping the batsman for width and checks the run flow. He also takes crucial wickets when needed. His lethal weapon, the “doosra”, is very difficult for the batsmen to pick. His variations always create some doubt in the batsman’s mind. With the conditions in India aiding the spinners, Ajmal will be delighted to lead his team forward in the tournament.
Possible Playing XI: Farrukh Shehzad, Ali Waqas, Khurram Shehzad, Misbah-ul-Haq, Asif Ali, Imran Khalid, Mohammad Salman, Ehsan Adil, Samiullah Khan, Asad Ali, Saeed Ajmal.
Faisalabad Wolves Schedule:
Tuesday, 17 September, v Otago Volts at Mohali.
Wednesday, 18 September, v Hyderabad Sunrisers at Mohali.
Friday, 20 September, v Kandurata Maroons at Mohali.
Can the Wolves, considered as the weakest team on paper, qualify for the main draw and spring some surprises?