Home » ‘A bit of a Lasith Malinga’: Pakistan quick Zaman Khan poised for Big Bash League debut

‘A bit of a Lasith Malinga’: Pakistan quick Zaman Khan poised for Big Bash League debut

He may not be a household name just yet, but Pakistani quick Zaman Khan looms as the Sydney Thunder’s most dangerous X-factor ahead of this season’s Big Bash League.

The 22-year-old, described by former Pakistan bowler Aaqib Javed as “one of the best death ball bowlers in the world”, has represented Pakistan in six T20s and an ODI since making his international debut earlier this year. Despite predominantly bowling in the Powerplay and at the death, he has conceded just 6.66 runs per over across his brief T20I career.

However, Zaman has enhanced his reputation by dominating domestic T20 leagues over the last 18 months, winning back-to-back Pakistan Super League titles with the Lahore Qalanders and representing the Jaffna Kings during last year’s triumphant Lankan Premier League campaign.

He was the fourth-leading wicket-taker of this year’s T20 Blast in England, taking 25 scalps at 16.55 in 14 matches for the Derbyshire Falcons, also making cameos with the Manchester Originals in The Hundred and the Toronto Nationals in the Canada GT20.

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Zaman, who has been clocked at over 145km/h, boasts an irresistible T20 resume and one of the most destructive toe-crushing yorkers in world cricket. The right-armer’s unique slinging action, which mimics Sri Lankan legend Lasith Malinga, means the ball is delivered in line with the stumps at a lower trajectory than other bowlers.

“He’s a bit different. He’s a bit more of a slingy sort of bowler, a bit of a Lasith Malinga,” Thunder batter Jason Sangha explained to Fox Cricket.

“He’s the full package at the moment. He’s played domestic tournaments and international cricket, so ticks both boxes.”

The Thunder snapped up Zaman with their No. 13 pick during September’s BBL Draft for $300,000, bolstering the squad’s bowling attack ahead of the 13th edition of the tournament.

“Looking at our squad, we’ve obviously got a lot of new-ball options, guys like Gurinder Sandhu, Nathan McAndrew, Liam Hatcher; we needed someone to bowl some death overs,” Sangha continued.

“Death overs are so key. Daniel Sams has had that role for a long time, and to have someone like Zaman Khan, who could probably take the pressure off him, because T20 cricket is a game where someone is always going to get hurt sometimes, and it’s always nice to have another option.”

Sams, who claimed his 100th Big Bash wicket last summer, is excited by the prospect of bowling alongside one of Pakistan’s brightest talents.

“I played against him in The Hundred … I faced him at the death, and he was difficult to hit,” Sams told Fox Cricket.

“Having his experience and his skill at the end will make it a little bit easier for me, because they know it’s going to be hard to go from both ends.

“Potentially they might try and target me a bit more if they’re struggling to get him.”

Zaman Khan of the Derbyshire Falcons. Photo by David Rogers/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

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At this stage, the Thunder only has access to Zaman for their first four group-stage matches because the Pakistan Cricket Board granted him a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) until December 28; he is expected to feature in Pakistan’s upcoming T20 series against New Zealand, which commences on January 12.

The Thunder’s BBL season gets underway in Canberra this Tuesday, facing the Brisbane Heat at Manuka Oval from 7.15pm AEDT.