Pakistan has produced some of the world’s most exciting and feared fast bowlers over the years, and the latest young gun to emerge from the country is Ihsanullah. Born in 2002 in the Swat Valley region of KPK, Ihsanullah's cricketing journey has been one of perseverance and determination.
Early Days in Domestic Cricket
Ihsanullah first made waves in the Pakistan Cricket Board's Under-16 tournament, representing FATA and finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker. However, he disappeared from the domestic circuit for several years until 2022 when he enrolled in the ‘Kamyab Jawan Sports Drive,’ a talent program initiated by former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Making Waves in First Class and List A Cricket
In September 2022, Ihsanullah made his First-Class debut for KPK against Central Punjab in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, where he picked up three wickets in his first game, including Asad Shafiq as his maiden victim. He continued to impress in the National T20 Cup and the Pakistan One Day Cup, finishing as the second leading wicket-taker with 25 wickets to his name, including a 5-wicket haul and four 4-wicket hauls, with an impressive average of 19.96 and a strike rate of 18.2.
Working on Pace and Technique
Ihsanullah's average speed in domestic cricket was around 130 kph, but his management saw him as a young pacer with the potential to increase his speed. With minor tweaks in his technique, Ihsanullah began to get fluent and started to increase his pace. His coach, Rehman, praised his height, muscular build, and growing understanding of the importance of fitness and fast bowling mechanics, calling him a complete package. Rehman also predicted that Ihsanullah had room to add another 2kph to his current pace of 150 kph.
PSL 8: Taking the Tournament by Storm
Ihsanullah's performance in PSL 8 has been nothing short of remarkable. With 10 wickets in just three matches and an economy of just 6.16, he is currently the tournament’s leading wicket-taker. In his second game of the season, he bowled a spell of 5-12 against Quetta Gladiators with his fierce pace leaving batters struggling. He took four out of five wickets, including those of Jason Roy, Sarfraz Ahmed, Umar Akmal, and the in-form Iftikhar Ahmed.
Impressive Bowling Stats
With an impressive bowling average of 28.22 in First Class cricket, 19.96 in List A cricket, and 12.88 in T20 cricket, Ihsanullah has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He has also broken records, bowling the fastest over in PSL history with an average speed of 144.16 kph and delivering the fastest ball of PSL 8 at a speed of 152.65 kph.
The Future of Pakistani Fast Bowling?
It may be too early to judge, but Ihsanullah's passion and desire for playing for Pakistan cricket suggest that he has the potential to become one of the country's great fast bowlers. Fans will be hoping that he continues to develop and fulfill his potential, following in the footsteps of some of Pakistan's greatest ever cricketers, such as Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar.