The Indian Premier League has asserted its supremacy as one of the most popular cricketing tournaments in the world. Entertaining millions of fans each year, the cash-rich league has also emerged as a stepping platform for talented cricketers from different corners of the globe.
Superstars and budding talents converge for the mega event and showcase their exemplary skills, leaving the fans craving for more. While the inaugural edition saw players from Pakistan participate in the tournament, the subsequent years did not feature any Pakistan player owing to invariable reasons.
However, in a hypothetical world, it would be no secret that the players from World's No 1 T20 side would be in demand in the IPL. And talking about hypothetical things, here are 5 cricketers from Pakistan who would have been in demand at the IPL auction in 2019.
Note: No Pakistan player would be participating at the IPL auction in 2019. This article is a theoretical one and represents one of a cricket fan's many probable theories.
#5 Imad Wasim
Famous for foxing the batsmen with his in-sliders, Imad Wasim handles different portfolios while playing with the men in green.
Be it bowling tight overs during the power play, picking up wickets at regular intervals or even hitting the long ball with a bat in hand, the England-born cricketer comes across as a multi-faceted player.
In 31 T20Is for Pakistan thus far, Wasim has motored quite well to serve the team's purposes. Accounting for 35 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.03, the 29-year-old has grown into one of Pakistan's most bankable players in the T20 format.
Owing to his varied talents in the game, it would be no surprise if he soon turns to be a hot-commodity across different T20 leagues. In a made-up world where Pakistan players too participate in the IPL auction, the left-handed cricketer would surely be claiming a decent bet.
#4 Fakhar Zaman
Fast gaining recognition as a pinch-hitter of the cricket ball, Pakistan's dashing opener has been turning heads with his batting exploits.
From hurting India with a match-winning century in the final of the ICC Champion's Trophy in 2017 to smashing a blistering double hundred against Zimbabwe, Fakhar Zaman has come as an exciting proponent of aggressive batsmanship.
The recent-past also witnessed the 28-year-old become the quickest to score 1000 runs in ODI cricket. Achieving the feat in just 18 innings, Zaman has breathed a new life in Pakistan's top order with his swashbuckling strokeplay.
Representing Pakistan in 26 T20Is so far, the man from Multan has scored 706 runs at a strike rate of 139.8.
If given a chance to participate in IPL, Zaman would be on the radar of the franchises that would be looking to acquire a flamboyant opening batsman, who could get the team off to blazing starts.
#3 Shoaib Malik
A seasoned campaigner who brings truckloads of experience into any situation, Shoaib Malik is another popular name in T20 cricket. In 108 games played for Pakistan, Malik has as many as 2190 runs under his belt and is the third highest run-getter in T20I cricket as of now.
With a calm head on shoulders, Malik can serve multiple capacities coming into bat in the middle-order. From anchoring an innings to upping the ante in the death overs, the T20 veteran can don one too many avatars as dictated by the game's scenario.
Apart from proving his worth with the bat, Malik can also chip in with a few handy overs with his wily off-breaks, making him a valuable all-rounding asset in a dynamic format.
On a hypothetical note, the former Pakistan captain would be a sought-after player at the IPL auction. Experienced all-rounders generally tend to draw a higher number of bidders each year and the case of Shoaib Malik would certainly be no different.
#2 Shadab Khan
One of the more popular leg-break bowlers going around the scene is Shadab Khan, who comes as a valuable asset to any T20 side.
A talented spin bowler, who can pick wickets regularly while maintaining a miserly economy rate, Shadab Khan is fast making a name for himself wherever he plays. With 28 wickets in 19 games for Pakistan this year, Khan is the second highest wicket-taker in T20s in 2018. Also, the 20-year-old is a handy batsman lower down the order and is perfectly capable of scoring some crucial runs if the need be.
With an experience of spinning his web in different domestic T20 tournaments, the Pakistani cricketer would certainly fetch many bids at the IPL auction. Moreover, given the ever-increasing demand for leg-spinners in the game's shortest format, it would be no surprise if he would walk away to the bank carrying a hefty amount.
#1 Babar Azam
Flourishing as one of Pakistan's most prolific run-scorers, Babar Azam would be a red-hot property at the auction. Fortifying his caliber with a rating of 858, Azam currently occupies the numero uno spot in the ICC T20I rankings for batsmen.
On course to becoming one of Pakistan's batting mainstays in the limited over formats, the 24-year-old has witnessed a substantial growth in his credibility as a gifted player all across the globe.
In addition to being one of the quickest men to score 1000 runs in ODI cricket, the Lahore lad even shattered Virat Kohli's record to become the fastest to reach 1000 runs in T20Is.
In the 26 T20 games played for his country, Azam has amassed 1031 runs at an astonishing average of 54.26 and an impressive strike rate of 124.37. Hypothetically, the youngster would have been an ideal bet to put an end to the middle-order conundrums of a few teams in the IPL.