Lahore Qalandars might not have shown any extraordinary performance so far in the second edition of the Pakistan Super League, but they are not to be taken lightly.
Under Brendon McCullumâ€™s captaincy, the Qalandars have already shown what they are capable of. Their match against Peshawar Zalmi on Sunday sent a clear message to the opponents: beware of what the team can achieve guided by McCullumâ€™s aggressive leadership.
In Sundayâ€™s game, McCullum turned around what everybody thought was a one-sided match, into one of the most incredible low-scoring thrillers the world of cricket has ever seen. He made sure to make even a minuscule target of 60 tough enough for the Zalmi. What appeared to be a smooth sail for the Zalmi turned into a nightmare for them. The Qalandars, through their disciplined bowling especially with Yasir Shahâ€™s magic spin, and aggressive fielding, fell just three wickets short of pulling off one of the most dramatic wins in the history of cricket.
Qalandars, through their disciplined bowling especially with Yasir Shahâ€™s magic spin, and aggressive fielding, fell just three wickets short of pulling off one of the most dramatic wins in the history of cricket.
The man behind this incredible fightback was McCullum. And Lahore Qalandars will look to utilise more of his brilliant leadership skills to enable them to win the trophy. McCullum previously captained New Zealand in all three formats of
McCullum previously captained New Zealand in all three formats of game. Under his captainship, the Kiwis played 62 matches, won 36 and lost 22, with McCullum becoming the most successful captain in New Zealandâ€™s cricket history.
McCullum also led the Black Caps in 28 T20 Internationals (Won 13, Lost 14). The Black Caps have done wonders under his captaincy. A big-hitting legend in limited-overs cricket, McCullum took to quick scoring in Tests as well, notably recording the fastest Test century of all time in his farewell Test against Australia.
He is presently acting as a mentor for Lahore Qalandars franchise in the Pakistan Super League as well â€“ which is another opportunity for the Qalandars to learn from the cricket great. He is already bringing out the best in his players. Take example of Yasir Shah, who was chosen to perform at the right spur of the moment against Zalmi and ended up taking four major wickets in return for only seven runs in his spell.
McCullum also provided ample chances to the new youngsters Mohammad Irfan Jr and Fakhar Zaman (who made 33 valuable runs in the match against Zalmi). He showed confidence in them at crucial moments of the game, which was no doubt a huge boost to their morale.
However, with all the aggression and attack McCullum brings to cricket, the need for a batsman like Azhar Ali was still desperately felt when the Qalandars were throwing away their wickets in quick succession in Sundayâ€™s game. The team needs a batsman who can stick to the pitch and elongate his stay on the wicket. McCullum has said he isnâ€™t worried about his players getting caught out; what bothers him is being bowled or getting LBWed. But the team could do well with a player like Azhar, who would bring some balance to the aggressive side the Qalandars have become this season with McCullum.
Aggression has no doubt turned the team into a feared rival, but it may not be enough to take the Qalandars to the trophy. Some stability is equally crucial for success.