LAHORE - As many as 21 foreign internationals and 15 local players will make their debuts in the HBL Pakistan Super League 8, which will be played in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi from 13 February to 19 March. Multan will host five matches, Karachi and Lahore will stage nine matches each and Rawalpindi will stage 11 matches. The internationals to appear in the HBL PSL for the first time include: Adil Rashid, Akeal Hosein (both Multan Sultans), Andrew Tye (Karachi Kings), Bhanuka Rajapaksa (Peshawar Zalmi), Dwaine Pretorius (Quetta Gladiators). Fazalhaq Farooqi, Gus Atkinson (both Islamabad United), Izharulhaq Naveed (Multan Sultans), James Fuller (Karachi Kings), Jimmy Neesham (Peshawar Zalmi), Josh Little (Multan Sultans), Kusal Mendis (Lahore Qalandars), Matthew Wade (Karachi Kings), Naveen-ul-Haq, Nuwan Thushara, Odean Smith (all Quetta Gladiators), Richard Gleeson (Peshawar Zalmi), Shane Dadswell (Lahore Qalandars), Tabraiz Shamsi (Karachi Kings), Tom Curran (Islamabad United) and WaninduHasaranga (Quetta Gladiators).
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In addition to the foreigners, the local lads aiming to make a big impression in their debut event are: Aamer Jamal (Peshawar Zalmi), Ahsan Bhatti (Lahore Qalandars), Aimal Khan (Quetta Gladiators), Arafat Minhas (Multan Sultans), Haseebullah (Peshawar Zalmi), Hassan Nawaz (Islamabad United), Irfan Khan Niazi (Karachi Kings), Mirza Tahir Baig (Lahore Qalandars), Mohammad ‘Karnal’ Zahid (Quetta Gladiators), Mohammad Sarwar Afridi (Multan Sultans), Omair Bin Yousuf (Quetta Gladiators), Saud Shakeel (Quetta Gladiators), Shawaiz Irfan (Lahore Qalandars), Sufyan Muqeem (Peshawar Zalmi) and Tayyab Tahir (Karachi Kings). In the HBL PSL 8, Lahore Qalandars will aim to become the first side to win back-to-back titles, while Islamabad United will aim to become the first team to win three titles since the event started in 2016. In the seven impressive years of HBL PSL, Babar Azam is the leading run-getter with 2,413 runs in 68 matches but is yet to notch up his maiden century. Kamran Akmal, who will miss the event, is the second leading run-getter with 1,972 runs in 75 and is the holder of most centuries – three.
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Explosive opener Sharjeel Khan has smashed two centuries while Fakhar Zaman, Rilee Rossouw, Cameron Delport, Colin Ingram, Chris Lynn, Usman Khawaja, Harry Brook and Jason Roy have stroked a century each. Wahab Riaz of Peshawar Zalmi is the only bowler who has broken the 100-wicket barrier in the HBL PSL. He has taken 103 wickets in 77 matches and is followed by Hasan Ali (81), Shaheen Shah Afridi (70) and Shadab Khan (65). In the absence of Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan of Multan Sultans will aim to become the most successful wicketkeeper in HBL PSL. Rizwan (60 dismissals) trails Kamran by two dismissals, while Sarfaraz Ahmed is third on 43 dismissals.