Fresh out of its fourth edition, there is no question the PSL will continue to be the most accessible window into Pakistan's talent pool. Purists may argue it isn't the best way to unearth potential cricketers, particularly for the longer formats, but the truth is years of dereliction have brought the domestic circuit in Pakistan to its knees. If a Pakistan domestic cricketer doesn't perform in the PSL, do his performances really count? Does a selector see them as potential recruits for the national team, or is it only after an impressive PSL outing that people rush to their laptops to pull out stats from local tournaments they had barely heard of?
Much of the attraction this season came from the high-profile international globe-trotting superstars that seem ready to participate in the PSL in ever-growing numbers each year. Shane Watson seemed to pick up where he'd left off last year, and is now the most prolific foreign run-scorer in the tournament. AB de Villiers played that audacious innings that culminated in a last-ball six from David Wiese to win Lahore Qalandars an incredible game, while Colin Ingram and Cameron Delport smashed the two biggest individual scores in PSL history. But while Pakistan was all too happy to be dazzled by these names lighting up their tournament, nothing quite lifts the morale as a local lad going toe to toe with the stars, and better still, coming out on top.
Here are four Pakistan players yet to don their national colours, but who may well have done so by the time the next PSL season rolls around.
Mohammad Hasnain (Quetta Gladiators)
This one is a safe bet. The lanky, baby-faced, 18-year old fast bowler has already been called up to the national team, almost certain to make his debut in the five-match ODI series against Australia that begins next week. It isn't difficult to see why Hasnain impressed the selectors so much. He didn't play a number of the earlier games for Quetta Gladiators, but was one of the first names on the team sheet by the close. With a slender, tall frame, an attractive, repeatable action, and pace and accuracy to die for, Hasnain has already joined the list that is blessed and cursed in equal measure: "The next big thing among Pakistan fast bowlers."
He took 12 wickets in the tournament averaging under 18, and also bowled the fastest delivery of the tournament, clocked at 151 kph. As the occasion grew bigger, his performances continued to improve, culminating in three wickets in the final that earned him the Player-of-the-Match award. He is from Hyderabad in the Sindh province. If he makes his debut against Australia, he will become just the second Sindhi player from outside Karachi to play for Pakistan; Sharjeel Khan was the first.
Umer Khan (Karachi Kings)
AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Luke Ronchi, Corey Anderson, Shoaib Malik, Rilee Rossouw and Cameron Delport. You might think this is someone picking a list of batsmen for their fantasy teams, or a league determining which players to sell under its most valuable category. But these are just some of the players 19-year-old left-arm spinner Umer Khan bested over the past three weeks during the PSL. Far and away the best local spinner across the tournament, Umer became one of Karachi's talismans this year, and the fourth highest wicket-taker across the competition.
Left-arm spinners have seen their stock rise exponentially as T20 cricket has matured. Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Asghar and Hassan Khan were among the trailblazers of the trade as far as the PSL is concerned, but consistency has eluded them all. Umer seems to be different. He doesn't fizz the ball in, trusting himself enough to flight it up to the best of batsmen, looking to beat them with turn and drift. In that sense, he's more aggressive than any of the left-arm spinners Pakistan currently have, and if this PSL is an indicator of his inherent quality rather than a mere purple patch, Pakistan have much to be excited about.
Haris Rauf (Lahore Qalandars)
Having played no domestic cricket, Haris Rauf was the first player to shine through Lahore Qalandars' talent-hunt programme. He was sent to Australia to fine-tune his fast bowling skills, and in just his fourth T20, won the man-of-the-match award for a sensationally hostile 4 for 20 against Karachi Kings. He was among the leading lights early on in the tournament, with his flamboyance, aggression, and most importantly, genuine ability - a glittering positive in what was another poor season for the hapless Lahore side.
He played all ten of Lahore's games, picking up 11 wickets and keeping his economy rate under 7.5. His pace, however, doesn't quite dovetail with accuracy in the way Hasnain's does, and even though he's five years older, the lack of experience within a professional system means he has some catching up to do. However, that means Rauf, already a very good bowler, can improve by smoothing out his rough edges. Should that happen over the next few months, it may not be just the green of Lahore Qalandars he sports in the year to come.
Muhammad Musa (Islamabad United)
Mohammad Musa is another 18-year old fast bowler on Pakistan's conveyor belt. Without quite the accuracy of Hasnain or the temperament of Rauf, Musa's mild-mannered demeanour belies his pace and burning ambitions. He impressed in short bursts through much of the tournament, but economy rate continues to be a serious problem for him; he went at 10.21 per over, by far the most expensive specialist bowler among the top 20 wicket-takers.
But it is what he could bring to Pakistan that is so exciting. A tall, broad-shouldered young man with green eyes and an eye-catching hairstyle, Musa is a fast bowling marketability dream. With roots in a Chitral, never considered fertile ground for Pakistan cricketing talent, he could well serve as an inspiration to budding cricketers in the hinterlands of Pakistan, so often overlooked to the country's detriment. His pace is already in the high 140s, and while a Pakistan debut in the following 12 months could be a step too far for the Islamabad United player, it is unlikely his aspirations would begin and end at the PSL.