PSL final – Shadab Khan lauds Islamabad’s ‘process’ and ‘belief’ after third title win

If Shadab Khan came across as slightly unsure about receiving the Player of the Tournament award after the PSL final on Monday night, he certainly didn’t feel undeserving. Quite the opposite in fact.

Nahin, aisa kuch nahin, mera hi banta hai (Nothing like that, I deserve it),” he quipped after leading Islamabad United to their third PSL title.

Shadab was instrumental in the thrilling final-ball win over Multan Sultans in Karachi in the PSL final, picking up 3 for 32 including the wicket of his Multan counterpart, Mohammad Rizwan. It made Islamabad the most successful PSL franchise, with a third title, and Shadab’s second after the 2018 win. There was little doubt which triumph was more memorable.

“This title is the really big one,” Shadab said. “In 2018, it was only my second season. I had had success very quickly in my career. This one has been a lot of hard work, and built on the belief of a lot of people, including our owners, Rehan ul Haq (the team manager) and the other management. Our belief as a team is such that we never let any doubt in. That is how you recognise a good team, because it doesn’t let in any doubt. So very satisfied that we’ve won.”

It wasn’t a straightforward campaign for Islamabad by any means. They stuttered early on with three consecutive losses after a season-opening win. That included an almighty collapse against Peshawar Zalmi when they fell from 181 for 3 to 191 for 9, also losing four wickets in an over.

But belief in their ways and methods remained firm and some old hands came good, not least Faheem Ashraf and the player of the final – and the playoffs – Imad Wasim.

“The way we started, then lost three consecutive games, our belief remained the same. The matches we lost were close ones, last-over games, or we controlled games and then lost. Cricket doesn’t let you relax,” Shadab said.

“From the Karachi [Kings] game, it had become knockout matches for us, and we took it one game at a time. We’ve always had the belief in our group that we have players who can win us games from anywhere.”

Imad’s return to form was especially critical, a series of match-winning performances starting from the must-win group game against Multan. After a torrid start to the tournament, Imad won the Player of the Match award in every game in the playoffs, taking wickets and finishing games with the bat.

The run has been accompanied by increasing chatter to get him back into Pakistan colours, Imad having retired last November from international cricket, not entirely content. Shadab was unequivocal in his support.

“He must have had some issues to take such a big decision [when he announced his retirement],” Shadab said. “It’s his own decision if he wants to take it back. If someone talks to him about it, I think he might return. It is a World Cup season. Our best players, and those in the best form should play. That’s my wish that he plays. What is his own thinking is, that’s different.”

“I understand criticism on performances, but when it becomes personal then it is difficult. We are a one-sport nation, so everyone wants the team to win, or players to perform.”

Shadab Khan

Indirectly, part of the reason for the clamour for Imad has been Shadab’s own form for Pakistan. After a disappointing Asia Cup and ODI World Cup at the end of last year, he was not picked for Pakistan’s T20I series in New Zealand at the start of the year. As such, his performances and form in this PSL have served as an audition for a return, even if he hasn’t seen it as such.

“Whatever team I play for, I want to help them win,” he said. “Even this tournament, I wasn’t playing so that it would get me back in the Pakistan side. My effort was just to improve and do the things I can do. Playing for Pakistan is not in your hands. Your discipline and process is in your hands. Sometimes you’ll perform, sometimes you won’t, sometimes you’ll be in the team, sometimes out of it. But if the process is consistent you will improve. Everybody wants to play for Pakistan and in a World Cup, that is my wish too. But it’s not in my control.

“I understand criticism on performances, but when it becomes personal then it is difficult. We are a one-sport nation, so everyone wants the team to win, or players to perform. That pressure is there every day you have to perform.

“I believe in the process, if that is good, then results will come. When you don’t do well, you have to accept it. You can’t deny that. If your attitude is 100%, that’s it, you can’t control beyond that. If there is too much focus on results, then that process suffers.”

Leave a Comment