When Multan Sultans ownership rights were won by Ali Tareen consortium, the fans hoped for a brighter future and new beginning; a beginning, which has gotten off to the worst possible start as Multan have finished lowest on the points table for the second consecutive season.
With one outing left, the team has won just two matches from their nine. Both victories coming against the defending champions Islamabad United by 5 and 6 wickets margin.
So, how does a team lose so miserably when it boasts star power of Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan, Andre Russell and Mohammad Irfan?
Question Marks Over Player Acquisition
Unlike other franchises, Multan team lacked composition. The team had limited batting options and Sultans were heavily reliant on their foreign players to perform.
Apart from Shoaib Malik (44.33) and Umar Siddiq (26.00), the Multan team had no local player with over 25 average in the T20s.
The Ali Tareen franchise also fared extremely poorly when it came to recruiting quality foreign T20 players. The coach and the captain also seemed absent minded when it came to picking the right foreign players from their squad.
Here’s how their foreign players performed in PSL 2019:
|Daniel Christian — 97 runs, 5 wickets (7 matches)|
Christian was perhaps the pick of the foreign players for Multan as he contributed with bat and bowl both. However, his contributions were either not enough or came at a price.
|James Vince — 206 runs (7 matches)|
The Englishman started his PSL 2019 with flair and venom. However, his inability to play spinners was capitalized on by the opposition which caused his downfall.
|Johnson Charles — 167 runs (6 matches)|
The only match in which Charles looked to have contributed with the bat, he dropped Pollard’s catch who then went on to win the game for Peshawar.
|Chris Green — 3 wickets (4 matches)|
With an economy of 6.61, Green was certainly not a bad pick but he was overlooked by the team management on multiple occasions as he played only 4 matches.
|Andre Russell — 50 runs, 1 wicket (4 matches)|
Poor form and even worse fitness, Russell disappointed Multan the most. His only wicket came at an expense of 118 runs in the four matches. With the bat, he was also extremely unimpressive.
|Tom Moores — 10 runs (2 matches)|
Partially unknown player to most, the Englishman faced a lot of difficulty in the competition. Reliable behind the wicket, not so much with the bat.
To summarize: Lack of squad depth, poor local players selection and over-reliance on foreign players was a recipe for disaster, which encapsulates Multan Sultans’ season perfectly.
In a match against Peshawar Zalmi, Multan lost their opening wicket early on. The teams had to wait more than 6 minutes for Shoaib Malik to get padded and make his way into the ground. This unorganized display from the skipper himself sends out an extremely negative message.
On top of being unorganized, Malik made some shocking decisions throughout the tournament. On a slow and turning wicket, Malik opted not to bowl himself or let Daniel Christian bowl a single over, who is a specialist T20 bowler with remarkable slower deliveries in his inventory.
Malik’s lack of awareness was repeated once again where Daniel Christian again did not bowl until the last over against Lahore Qalandars.
Not playing Junaid and Abbas on fast pitches and having a pace attack on a spinning track was a common decision for Multan. Shahid Afridi also missed out on a couple of important matches due to unknown reasons and he was often bowled in an unusual manner which did not make much sense, i.e. Afridi bowling his first over in the 13th over of the innings.
It is worth mentioning that Multan Sultans, a team which has two former Pakistan skippers, were also fined because of slow over-rate.
From field placement to choosing his bowlers; every decision Malik made was questionable. To think that fans wanted Malik to lead Pakistan in the upcoming World Cup – bullet dodged!
Let Down by the Bowling Unit
There is no denying that on paper, Multan had the most lethal bowling lineup.
- Mohammad Irfan
- Junaid Khan
- Mohammad Abbas
- Shahid Afridi
- Andre Russell
- Shoaib Malik
- Daniel Christian
- Mohammad Ilyas
You might wonder that the list stops there but it doesn’t. The franchise also had Chris Green, Ali Shafiq and Nauman Ali. With such diversity in the squad, it is amazing how these players did not step up.
Here is a compilation of the 5 five matches that Multan could have won had the bowling department managed to perform:
|vs. Karachi Kings|
The bowling unit conceded 183 runs, which the batsmen failed to chase.
|vs. Quetta Gladiators|
Multan put 160 on the board, which Quetta chased at the expense of just 2 wickets.
|vs. Lahore Qalandars|
The team did a phenomenal job of becoming the first team in PSL 2019 to score 200 runs but the bowlers spoiled the party completely.
|vs. Peshawar Zalmi|
Batting first, Multan made 145 runs. Although it was a relatively low total but a premium bowling attack such as Multan’s should have defended the total.
Similarly, the second match against Peshawar was nothing different. Multan scored 175 runs and failed to defend it yet again!
The Big Misses
When you think T20 cricket match winners, only a handful of names come in your mind; Gayle, Pollard, Afridi and Russell. Now imagine Afridi and Russell in the same team. Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately for Multan Sultans, the tournament highlighted how Afridi’s age is catching up to him as he looked deflated whether he was batting, bowling or fielding. For Andre Russell, it is evident that he needs to rest for a lengthy period of time to recover from his injuries which are hindering his performances.
Both players failed to make any impact with the bowl or bat in the tournament, which ultimately meant the worst for Multan Sultans.
Come 2020, the franchise will be three-years-old and failures such as these would and should no longer be tolerable.