Quetta Gladiators have been disappointing in the last three editions as they failed to make it to the playoffs. Gladiators were, perhaps, the most successful team in the first four editions as they won the title once and finished runners-up in two seasons. They have since fallen as they have been unable to get over the line in crunch situations.
Quetta tried to right the wrongs of previous campaigns by picking T20 superstars like Wanindu Hasaranga, Odean Smith and Martin Guptill. The team will be led by Sarfaraz Ahmed and has the services of Pakistani footballers like Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed and Naseem Shah. Will Smeed and Jason Roy add extra quality to a solid core of players.
The Gladiators will be determined to return to their glory days and reach the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
Quetta Gladiators PSL 8 Squad
Quetta Gladiators will be captained by former Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. The team includes star Pakistani players, while their overseas team of Hasaranga, Odean Smith, Will Smeed, Jason Roy Naveen-ul-Haq and Martin Guptill is one of the best in the league.
This is their 18-man line-up:
|Sarfaraz Ahmed (c)||Wanindu Hasaranga||Naseem Shah||Mohammad Nawaz||Odean Smith||Jason Roy|
|Iftikhar Ahmed||Ahsan Ali||Mohammad Hasnain||Umaid Asif||Mohammad Zahid||Will Smeed|
|Umar Akmal||Naveen-ul-Haq||Aimal Khan||Abdul Wahid Bangalzai||Omair bin Yousuf||Martin Guptill|
Previous PSL finishes
Quetta were the most consistent team in the early seasons of PSL. They finished as runners-up in the first two editions of the tournament before winning the trophy in PSL 4. Since then, they have been a shadow of their former selves as they have finished bottom of the table once and second bottom twice.
Here’s how they’ve performed throughout the PSL:
|PSL Edition||Year||Position finished|
|5||2020||5th (2nd Last)|
|7||2022||5th (2nd Last)|
Strengths, Strong Bowling Attack
Quetta’s strength this time lies in the bowling unit. Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain have developed into superb fast bowlers while Mohammad Nawaz has also developed his game further. The inclusion of world-renowned spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and West Indies T20 specialist Odean Smith provides Quetta with a well-balanced attack of star quality. Naveen-ul-Haq and Umaid Asif add depth and quality to the overall squad.
Here is the overall T20 record of the Quetta bowling unit:
T20 Specialist Batters
Gladiators have invested in special T20 curtains from around the world. Jason Roy, Will Smeed and Martin Guptill are revered around the world for their explosive batting. Coupled with an explosive middle order of Umar Akmal and Iftikhar Ahmed, Quetta look set to take the onslaught to the opposition.
The only worrying sign for Quetta will be the batting form. Jason Roy and Martin Guptill have been in horrible form of late, while the jury is still out on Umar Akmal and his ability to handle pressure in big games.
Will Smeed has been one of the consistent performers in T20 cricket, while Iftikhar Ahmed has come alive in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) recently. Ahsan Ali and Abdul Wahid Bangalzai can also hit big if called into the starting line-up.
Here is the overall record of the Quetta batters:
Weaknesses, Bench Strength
Quetta’s biggest problem in PSL 8 will be their strength on the bench. The drop in quality from their starting line-up to the options available on the bench is huge, which could have a negative impact on their chances in the tournament.
Quetta has got new players like Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, Omair bin Yousuf, Aimal Khan and Mohammad Zahid as backup players in the team. Umaid Asif and Ahsan Ali, good players in their own right, don’t have the same ability as they did a few years ago.
The Gladiators will have to be smart to pick an extra two complementary players, which provide them with adequate back-up should one of their starters suffer injury or form issues.
The X Factor
Sri Lankan bowler Wanindu Hasaranga was one of the highlights of PSL 8. The world number one T20 bowler has been a revelation since his debut in international cricket and has proven his credentials across the globe.
Hasaranga’s all-round ability and his reputation for playing in high-pressure games make him a great asset for Quetta Gladiators. Hasaranga has an impressive record with the bowl and has also showcased his class with the bat on numerous occasions.
The 25-year-old has already taken 186 wickets in his short T20 career so far. His 186 wickets have come at an average of 16.74 and an economy rate of 6.74. He has also scored 1,418 runs at an average of 17.08 and a strike rate of 136.60 in 136 matches he has played in the shortest format of the game.