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Why Lahore Qalandars are not utilizing Sikandar Raza’s bowling skills?

Why Lahore Qalandars are not utilizing Sikandar Raza's bowling skills?
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Ahead of the 2024 Pakistan Super League (PSL), Lahore Qalandars were dealt a significant blow with the withdrawal of their premier bowler, Rashid Khan, due to injury. As the tournament kicked off and Lahore found themselves already four games deep, having suffered defeats in all, the absence of Rashid loomed large over the team.

Since joining Lahore Qalandars in 2021, Rashid Khan had been a linchpin of their bowling attack, emerging as the third-highest leading wicket-taker for the team with an impressive tally of 44 wickets. His withdrawal left a gaping hole in Lahore’s lineup, particularly felt in the crucial middle overs where Rashid’s knack for taking wickets often proved decisive.

Shaheen Shah Afridi, the captain of Lahore Qalandars, expressed the team’s reliance on Rashid and their strategy to fill the gap left by his absence with the inclusion of Sikandar Raza. Afridi acknowledged Rashid’s irreplaceable role but emphasized the need to maintain balance within the team. He expressed hope that Sikandar Raza’s arrival would prove beneficial in this regard.

“Rashid was our main bowler, crucial in the middle overs, taking wickets. He cannot be replaced, but we also need to maintain balance in the team. We hope Sikandar’s arrival will be beneficial,” 

He added,

 “I think Sikandar is the kind of bowler who can fill Rashid’s absence, allowing us to maintain our competitive edge.”

However, the transition hasn’t been smooth as fans anticipated. Despite being touted as a potential replacement for Rashid, Sikandar Raza’s role as a bowler has been conspicuously absent in recent matches. In the game against Karachi Kings, Sikandar didn’t bowl and was dismissed for a duck while batting. Against Multan Sultans, he bowled only two overs, and against Quetta Gladiators, he managed just three overs. Notably, he was not even included in the opener against Islamabad United.

With only five wickets to his name from 20.5 overs bowled across 11 innings since the 2023 season, questions have been raised about why Sikandar Raza isn’t being utilized as a proper bowler. Despite boasting 131 T20 wickets from 174 innings in his career, Sikandar’s bowling skills have remained largely underutilized in the PSL, much to the bewilderment of fans.

The decision not to deploy Sikandar Raza as a bowler, particularly evident in the match against Karachi Kings, has left fans scratching their heads, especially considering Lahore Qalandars’ winless streak in the PSL 2024. As the tournament progresses, the team will need to address this issue to bolster their chances of turning their fortunes around.

Also, see:

Karachi Kings Snatch Last-Ball Victory from Lahore Qalandars in a PSL Thriller