Former Pakistan quick Shoaib Akhtar has earmarked PSL team Lahore Qalandars’ Salman Irshad, who hails from Pakistan-administered Kashmir, as the bowler who can breach the 100 miles per hour mark.
Akhtar is one of only four bowlers – apart from Aussie quicks Jeff Thomson, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait – who have bowled at 100mph (161kph) at international level. The retired pacer said he will monitor Irshad’s progress himself after Akhtar was named mentor for the Qalandars in the third edition of the PSL.
“He is bowling at 92 miles an hour now. He can go up to 97. And if he puts his heart in, can break the 100 miles per hour barrier. I want to train Salman Irshad myself,” Akhtar said during an interview on Pakistan’s GEO News.
Irshad was spotted during a talent hunt conducted by the Qalandars last year in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Former Pakistan fast bowler and Qalandars director cricket operations Aaqib Javed was immediately impressed by what he saw and said Irshad had the potential to represent Pakistan at the highest level.
“I have set a target for him to increase his speed to 150kph. The angle he creates will help him bowl well in the death overs,” Javed was quoted as saying by Pakpassion.net.
With such high praise coming from two of the finest fast bowlers produced by Pakistan, all eyes will surely be on him when the PSL starts in the UAE on February 22.
Irshad was part of Lahore Qalandars’ Rising Stars squad that traveled to Australia for a quadrangular tournament. There he impressed the locals and was signed up by Hawkesbury CC for the rest of the season. Irshad picked up 22 wickets at an average of 12.95 in his first five second division games for Hawkesbury.