Ihsanullah: Pakistan’s latest pace sensation to emerge from PSL
They say Pakistan has a never-ending supply of fast bowlers. And judging by the talent they throw up every edition of the Pakistan Super League, that belief is well-placed.
Fast bowlers like Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain have shot into the limelight in the T20 tournament and it looks like it will be the turn of another young pacer to make his mark on the game soon.
Multan Sultans pacer Ihsanullah set the tournament alight on Wednesday as he bowled a devastating spell against Quetta Gladiators. The 20-year-old pacer picked up 5-12 from his four overs, including a maiden, to help dismiss Quetta for 110 and set up a nine-wicket win.
Right-arm pacer Ihsanullah clocked speeds of over 150kph and operated in the 140kph range throughout his spell. In fact, Ihsanullah’s was the fastest completed spell in the history of the tournament. According to CricViz, the average speed of his spell was 144.37kph, which is the quickest ever in PSL and beat the effort by Rauf for Lahore Qalandars against Peshawar Zalmi last year.
Who is Ihsanullah?
The young pacer hails from the new nursery of Pakistan cricket – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Born in the picturesque Swat valley, Ihsanullah comes from a very humble background.
He made his first-class debut last September after making his PSL bow earlier in January. In all, he has played just seven first-class matches, 11 one-day and 10 T20 games but has left a serious impression in all three. He is the highest wicket-taker for KP in the first-class Quaid-e-Azam trophy in the 2022-23 season with 22 wickets from seven games. He is also the second highest wicket-taker in the Pakistan ODI Cup for 2022-23 with 25 scalps.
Ihsanullah’s emergence is another feather in the cap of KP, who are now providing a big chunk of Pakistan’s playing XI, a position previously held by Punjab. Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Wasim all hail from that region.
How did Ihsanullah start his cricket?
Former KP coach Abdul Rehman, who now coaches Southern Punjab, spotted him in trials a couple of years ago. He did not make the cut in the first trial. Rehman then arranged for another set of trials where Ihsanullah made the cut.
Like many emerging cricketers from the region, Ihsanullah has a modest background. His home, unfortunately, was washed away during the floods in Swat two years ago. Now that he has caught the eye of the cricket world, Ihsanullah will be hoping for many joyful days on the field.
Fastest spells in PSL history
1. Ihsanullah for Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators (2023): Average speed of 144.37 kph
2. Haris Rauf (Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi, 2022): 144.16 kph
3. Naseem Shah (Quetta Gladiators v Karachi Kings, 2020): 143.73 kph
4. Mohammad Hasnain (Quetta Gladiators v Multan Sultans, 2021): 143.41 kph
5. Wahab Riaz (Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators, 2019): 143.33 kph
Note: According to CricViz, average speed for full quota of four overs.