Pakistan is known for producing an impressive number of fast bowlers, and every season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) sees new talent emerge. The tournament has been the launchpad for fast bowlers like Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Hasnain, who have gone on to make a name for themselves on the international stage. The latest addition to this list is Multan Sultans’ Ihsanullah, who delivered a devastating spell against Quetta Gladiators in the PSL.
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. What’s more, Ihsanullah’s average speed of 144.37kph made him the fastest bowler in the history of the PSL. He bowled in the 140kph range throughout his spell, with speeds over 150kph, which is a remarkable feat for a young pacer.
So who is Ihsanullah? The young pacer hails from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, which has emerged as the new nursery of Pakistan cricket. Born in the picturesque Swat valley, Ihsanullah comes from a very humble background. He made his first-class debut in September 2022 and has played just seven first-class matches, 11 one-day and 10 T20 games but has left a serious impression in all three formats.
In fact, Ihsanullah 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. His 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.
But Ihsanullah’s journey to the top hasn’t been easy. 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, but Rehman arranged for another set of trials where Ihsanullah finally made the cut. Like many emerging cricketers from the region, Ihsanullah has a modest background. Unfortunately, his home was washed away during the floods in Swat two years ago. Despite these challenges, he persevered and has now caught the eye of the cricket world.
Ihsanullah’s incredible spell against Quetta Gladiators has put him in the record books. He now holds the record for the fastest completed spell in the history of the PSL, beating the previous record held by Haris Rauf for Lahore Qalandars against Peshawar Zalmi last year. It’s a remarkable achievement for a young pacer who has played just a handful of matches at the domestic level.
It’s evident that Pakistan’s never-ending supply of fast bowlers continues, and Ihsanullah’s emergence is a testament to that. His impressive performances in the PSL and domestic cricket have put him on the radar of the national selectors. It won’t be long before he makes his mark on the international stage and adds his name to the long list of talented fast bowlers that Pakistan has produced over the years.