Barrage of yorkers, bouncers and swingers – the Pune Devils’ plan

Boasting a pace battery that can wreak havoc on any opposition, the Pune Devils are ready to make it count in their debut T10 campaign. Apart from the formidable bowling line-up, a number of young batters are part of the newest team in The Abu Dhabi T10.

Let’s take a look at the players that will play a crucial role in the Pune Devils’ debut season in The Abu Dhabi T10.

Dependable hero: Mohammad Amir

Pune Devils’ pace spearhead Mohammad Amir, along with Hardus Viljoen, will have the responsibility of getting early wickets for the team in The Abu Dhabi T10. The left-armer’s exploits with the leather have troubled the best batters in the world, which will certainly keep Pune Devils in the running. With an ability to consistently clock over 145kph, the Pakistan speedster has the experience of delivering at the most crucial moments, with the most famous one being his spell against India in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy finals.

In more recent times, Mohammad Amir picked a five-fer for the Galle Gladiators and played a significant role in their run-up to the finals of the 2020 Lanka Premier League. He retired from Test cricket in 2019 and from international cricket a year later but will continue to play cricket leagues around the globe. In 182 T20 innings, he has scalped 216 wickets at an impressive economy of seven.

Player in-form: Asif Khan

A beast in the UAE’s domestic circuit, Asif Khan will be the local talent to watch out for from the Pune Devils’ squad. The right-handed opener is in the form of his life, having amassed 319 runs in his last four T20 matches with scores of 99, 39, 26, 101.

Asif Khan is among the highest run-getters in both T20 and T10 in the UAE. In the recently concluded Emirates D10 tournament, the Ajman batsman batted at a strike rate of 200 and averaged more than 34. Asif Khan can also chip in with the ball as an occasional off-break bowler

T10 veteran: Hardus Viljoen

South African pacer Hardus Viljoen is the most successful bowler of the tournament and holds the record for the most number of wickets in a single season. The right-arm quick topped the bowling charts in 2018 by picking 18 wickets in nine matches, taking a wicket in every appearance. Hardus Viljoen’s superior bowling efforts won the Northern Warriors the T10 title that season and he was named Player of the Tournament. He plied his trade for the Maratha Arabians in the first season.

Hardus Viljoen’s success in T10 can be attributed to his unpredictability, which is one of the keys to being a good quick bowler in short formats. With a hat full of tricks and variations, the speedster is as unpredictable as they get. Swerving yorkers, mean bouncers and slower ones all add up to his shock value.

A sought-after name in the shorter formats, Hardus Viljoen took the Kolpak route in 2017 and then set off on a global quest to be a specialist T20 and T10 bowler. He has already played in England, India, Pakistan, West Indies, and the UAE. In all, the strike bowler has 126 matches in T20 cricket, claiming 140 wickets at an economy of 8.12. 

Rising star: Darwish Rasooli

A middle-order batsman from Afghanistan, Darwish Rasooli is quickly making a name in the nation’s domestic scene after impressing in the 2018 Under-19 World Cup. The 21-year-old has an aggressive style of batting and has a knack for scoring against the pacers. He captained the Amo Sharks in the 2020 Shpageeza Cricket League – Afghanistan’s premier T20 tournament – and ended the campaign as their highest run-getter, with 206 runs in five matches at a mind-blowing average of 68.66.

This will be Darwish Rasooli’s first stint in The Abu Dhabi T10.