Pakistan, a country of 180 million is crazy about a sport called cricket. Unfortunately due to terrorism prevalent in Pakistan, there is no international cricket being played in Pakistan and other countries are reluctant to send their teams to a country which is considered as a ‘terrorist haven’. Pakistan Super League, a franchise based cricket t20 tournament is a good news, Pakistani cricket lovers were desperately waiting for.
The tournament is going to be held between 4th Feb to 23rd Feb in Dubai and Sharjah. This tournament is under planning for the last 6 years but it failed to took off. Finally PCB under the management of Sharyar Khan and Najam Sethi has took the concept to implementation stage and finally fans are going see the tournament which they had been waiting to see.
A country which has won 2 worldcups in cricket and produced cricketing legends like Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Inzamam ul Haq, Javed Miandad to name a few, has witnessed the passion for the sport decreasing. Terrorism already had damaged the reputation of the country and the spot fixing scandal also did much harm to Pakistan cricket which led to fans being disheartened and started following other sports like football (soccer). This tournament would help bring back the disheartened fans.
In this tournament, 5 teams are participating based on the 5 largest cities of Pakistan namely Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Islamabad. Although there are many flaws in the tournament planning, but I will try to only talk about the positives here. PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board), the organization responsible for handling the cricketing matters in Pakistan, is in pretty bad shape financially. As other countries are not touring Pakistan, it doesn’t have the same revenue streams as off other cricketing gaints like Australia, England and India. Pakistan nearly plays all it home games in UAE and it has to share its revenue with the Emirates Cricket Board. Due to this, the salaries/wages of Pakistani players are much less than that of other countries’ cricketers. Pakistan Super League (PSL) is a opportunity for both the players and the PCB to earn big.
PSL is also an opportunity for the young and emerging cricketers to get experience and make a name for themselves in the world of cricket by playing and sharing dressing rooms with legends of modern day cricket e.g. Kevin Pietersen, Chris Gayle and Shane Watson. Fans seeing these emerging players shine would also motivate them to start dreaming of playing cricket for Pakistan. This would help Pakistan cricket get its place and respect back in the cricket world. This tournament would also be the ideal place for identifying and grooming the next Imrans, Wasims and Miandads of the Pakistani cricket.
The PCB is not only aiming for higher revenues but also trying to improve the cricket in Pakistan. This is evident from the fact that there is a requirement that every 16 man squad should include no more than 5 foreign players and the compulsory inclusion of two emerging players.
The most positive factor about PSL is that all the 5 teams are equal in player power on paper. This is due to fact that teams were selected on draft basis rather than auction basis which would have enabled the richer franchise to get all the star players. This would make the tournament more competitive and matches would be more interesting to watch.
The PCB is optimistic that the further editions of the PSL would be held in Pakistan which would bring the international cricket back to Pakistan. PSL is our own tournament. We have watched our stars playing in IPL in India, Big Bash in Australia, BPL in Bangladesh, now its time to watch them play in our own tournament alongside other stars of cricket.
PCB has done its bit by planning the tournament and finalizing all the aspects of the tournaments be it financial and marketing. Now its time for the players to make this tournament a success by playing competitively and in the right spirit (far away from controversies). If they are successful in doing so, then for sure it would bring Pakistan into the spotlight positively at the world stage and would give Pakistan something to be proud off. Here is hoping for the success of PSL and Pakistan cricket.