One of the enduring themes of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in the four editions so far has been Karachi Kings looking like a solid side on paper but failing to somehow translate that into on-the-field performances.
Once again the side from the biggest city in the country looks to be arguably the most balanced of the lot on paper, boasting some of the biggest T20 names Pakistan has to offer.
Pakistan all-rounder Imad Wasim leads the side and it is a bit of an oddity that one of the players in his ranks is his international captain Babar Azam, who also happens to be the best T20 batsman in the world at the moment.
Add left-arm pacer Muhammad Amir into the mix and the Karachi side can boast arguably the best batsman, the best bowler and the best all-rounder in the country.
Muhammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed are also in the Kings’ roster, which means coach Dean Jones can call upon virtually half of Pakistan’s first-choice eleven.
The incoming Sharjeel Khan has a lot to prove but the 30-year-old will be short of match practice and fitness as he returns from his spot-fixing ban.
Another player with a lot to prove will be England star Alex Hales, who missed out on his side’s successful World Cup campaign after being suspended.
Sharjeel and Hales can provide the side with the kind of explosive starts that they have been unable to get in previous editions and it is likely that Babar Azam will play in the one-down role for the side.
The team’s decision to bring in Islamabad United star Cameron Delport,with Colin Ingram going the other way,is a risk that can turn out to be a disaster or a stroke of genius. Karachi have managed to get someone who is four years younger to his compatriot and is also in good touch during the ongoing Mzansi Super League but Delport’s preferred position as an opener puts him in direct competition with Hales, Sharjeel and Babar.
It seems odd for Karachi and Islamabad to let Ingram and Delport go, considering they were their respective sides’ top-scorers last year and both seemed to be a crucial part of the set up.
Liam Livingstone has also been allowed to leave despite being the side’s second highest run-maker after Ingram but Hales is an improvement on his fellow English opener.
The hitting abilities of lower-order batsmen such as Imad and Aamer Yamin mean Karachi Kings should be one of the most free-scoring teams this season. The most obvious weakness in each side should be the one emerging player that each side has to play but Karachi’s 20-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan was their best bowler last year as he claimed 15 wickets including some of the game’s biggest names.