Salman Irshad: First Kashmiri to play in PSL-2018, likely to break ‘100-mile barrier’

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by Saima Bhat

Srinagar

When teams within Pakistan will walk out onto the fields at UAE to play in the third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), Kashmiri cricket lovers on the both sides will cheer and bleed green again, this time for a different reason- Pakistan administered Kashmir’s (PaK) Salman Irshad has finally made into the PSL and is expected to break ‘100 miles per hour’ barrier.

File image of Salman Irshad

Known to bowl at a rapid pace, 22-year-old pace sensation Irshad has been selected to play in the third edition of PSL for Lahore Qalandar’s team. The PSL will start from February 22 in UAE.

Spotted last year during a talent hunt conducted by the Qalandars PaK, Irshad is all set to become the first player from Kashmir to appear in PSL.

Earlier Irshad was part of Lahore Qalandars’ Rising Stars squad that traveled to Australia for a quadrangular tournament. “There he impressed the locals and was signed up by Hawkesbury Cricket Club, second-grade cricket in Australia, for the rest of the season,” reported a sports magazine.

Spotted last year during a talent hunt conducted by the Qalandars PaK, Irshad is all set to become the first player from Kashmir to appear in PSL.

Irshad’s impressive performance in which he picked up 22 wickets at an average of 12.95 in his first five-second division games for Hawkesbury created a niche for him.

Former Pakistan fast bowler and Qalandars director cricket operations Aaqib Javed was immediately impressed by the pace of Irshad and he had said Irshad has the potential to represent Pakistan at the highest level.

File image of Salman Irshad along witgh his team mates during a match

“I saw him bowling at 145kmph during Lahore Qalandars’ Rising Stars trials in Azad Kashmir and that very moment I decided to pick him,” Aaqib was quoted saying by a Pakistan based web portal.

“There’s no doubt that after fine tuning and some training, he’ll be able to bowl at speed of more than 150kmph,” he added.

Meanwhile former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has earmarked ‘Irshad as the bowler who can breach the 100 miles per hour mark.’

There’s no doubt that after fine tuning and some training, he’ll be able to bowl at speed of more than 150kmph

“He is bowling at 92 miles an hour now. He can go up to 97. And if he puts his heart in, can break the 100 miles per hour barrier. I want to train Salman Irshad myself,” Akhtar, known as the fastest bowler in the history of cricket said in a TV discussion on GeoTV on February 05, celebrated as the Kashmir Solidarity Day in Pakistan.

Akhtar is one of only four bowlers including Australian quicks Jeff Thomson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, who has bowled at 100mph (161kph) at international level.

The retired pacer, as per a sports magazine, has said that he will monitor Irshad’s progress himself. Akhtar was named mentor for the Qalandars in the third edition of the PSL.

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