LAHORE: Multan Sultans pacer Mohammad Ali, who is currently leading the fast bow­ling charts of the HBL Pak­istan Super League with 13 wickets, has emphasised that he always strives to play his own game rather than co­m­paring himself with others.

Speaking to reporters after a training session at the LCCA ground here on Monday, on the eve of their match against the struggling Lahore Qalandars, Ali stated that he doesn’t see his performance as a competition with other players.

Instead, he said, that he focused on playing his own game and fulfilling the role assigned to him by the team management.

Ali played a significant role in propelling Multan Sultans to the top of the points table with eight points from five matches. He expressed confidence in his team’s balance and read­iness to face the Qala­ndars on their home ground.

Ali also dismissed the notion that transitioning from red-ball cricket to white-ball cricket was difficult, emphasising the impo­rtance of red-ball cricket in player development.

Meanwhile, Aaqib Jav­ed, the head coach of Lahore Qalandars and a former Test bowler, expressed disappointment over losing the services of paceman Haris Rauf, who was ruled out of the remaining matches of the PSL due to a shoulder dislocation suffered in the match against Karachi Kings on Saturday.

Aaqib highlighted the absence of key players like Haris and spinner Rashid Khan due to injury but remained hopeful that the Qalandars, despite the setbacks, possessed a strong bowling line-up.

He expressed optimism that the team would bounce back from recent narrow def­eats and perform better in upcoming matches to stay in contention for the playoff stage.

Multan Sultans’ skipper Mohammad Rizwan along with batter Reeza Hendr­icks are among the top-four batters of the tournament, reflecting the team’s strong performance across all departments.

Despite losing a match to Peshawar Zalmi, the Sult­ans managed victories agai­nst Islamabad United, Lah­ore Qalandars, and Karachi Kings at their home ground. The upcoming match will mark their first away game of the season.

For Lahore Qalandars, who have lost all five matc­hes so far, a victory against the Sultans is crucial to stay in contention. Their batter Rassie van der Dussen’s century against Zalmi made him the top-scorer with a total of 270 runs, marking the first century of the current edition of the PSL. Additionally, Qalandars ope­ner Sahib­zada Farhan holds the fifth position am­­ong the top-scorers. The Qal­­andars, however, need opener Fakhar Zaman to regain form, with the Paki­stan international having managed only 66 runs from five matches. Captain

Shah­een Shah Afridi, as the pace spearhead, also needs to lead by example.­

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2024

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