Multan Sultans were the last franchise to join the HBL Pakistan Super League family and in three seasons since 2018 they had made steady progress. But it was rapid improvement in 2020 which caught the eye as they topped league standings before pressure got the better of them in the playoffs.

On eve of the sixth edition, Multan Sultans have opted to usher in Mohammad Rizwan as captain in place of Shan Masood. Rizwan had been phenomenal in Pakistan colours with both bat and the wicket-keeping gloves and his red-hot form just could be the inspirational force which Multan Sultans are seeking to in their quest for the title this year.

Moreover, Rizwan — who will making his debut for Multan Sultans — will be an automatic choice for head coach Andy Flower after his previous franchise constantly kept on the bench.

While the arrival of ex-Australian right-hander Chris Lynn will strengthen the batting but there are weak links in terms of team balance with a number of ‘oldies’ making up the squad. The fact that former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi, who will turn 41 on March 1, is still plying his trade in various short-format leagues is a clear sign of panic.

How much Afridi can offer on the field is a question everyone has been asking for several years now. His recent returns with bat and ball aren’t that mindboggling to suggest Afridi would be feared, if at all, by rival teams.

The Lahore-born former South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir will be celebrating his 42nd birthday five days after the PSL 6 final on March 22 and just like Afridi his form of late has been on the wane.

At the other end of the scale, young pace duo of Mohammad Umar and Shahnawaz Dhani may have not played T20 cricket but PSL is a platform that could enhance their growing reputation gained on the domestic circuit.

Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Shan Masood, Shahid Afridi, Rilee Rossouw, Chris Lynn, Khushdil Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Imran Tahir, James Vince, Usman Qadir, Sohaib Maqsood, Adam Lyth, Sohail Khan, Sohaibullah, Mohammad Umar, Shahnawaz Dhani, Carlos Brathwaite, Imran Khan.

Backroom staff: Andy Flower (head coach), Mushtaq Ahmed (assistant-cum-spin bowling coach), Azhar Mahmood (assistant-cum-fast bowling coach), Richard Halsall (fielding coach), Clive Deacon (physio), Talha Ejaz (analyst), Haider Azhar (team manager).

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