Saturday 12 April 2014 

Comment - Pakistan Super League? Yes Please

Pakistan
This time, will a Pakistan Super League finally come to fruition?
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) interim chairman Najam Sethi on Tuesday announced via Twitter that the PCB is keen to organise a Pakistan Super League (PSL) in January 2015 in the United Arab Emirates.

It is not the first time PCB has announced a window for the PSL. Earlier in 2012, PCB hired former ICC Chief Haroon Lorgat to drive the board in the correct direction towards a proposed Twenty20 League.

Then in January 2013, PCB officially launched the logo to be used for such a league, named it 'Pakistan Super League' and announced 26th March as its starting date.

The Pakistan Super League is set to copy the formats used by the Indian Premier League and Big Bash League (Australia) and is designed help bring international cricket back to Pakistan after the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in March 2009.

The question is: How should be the PSL be planned to give maximum benefits to the players and indirectly get international cricket back to Pakistan?

The Faysal Bank T20 Cup is the current T20 domestic tournament used by the PCB but it is nowhere near international standards. Too many teams (17 to be exact) and too few matches and days of play make it ridiculously uncompetitive.

Too many players as well as unequal distribution of international and experienced players makes many of the teams laughing stocks. Teams like Lahore, Karachi and Sialkot are jam-packed with international players while others don’t have even a single member with international experience.

Plus, a team gets a maximum of four of five matches every season in a tournament including 17 teams and is then blamed for not producing talented lads of higher quality.

This must be given serious thought before finalising PSL.

PCB has planned to schedule the PSL in the UAE so let’s leave the argument of home/away matches aside for this season at least. Then the number of participant teams must be reduced to six or maximum eight to get maximum juice out of the fruit and increase the competition between individual players and teams.

Less teams will surely increase the quality of participating players. The teams should be named Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad and Sialkot after the national and provincial capitals so that each province may get its representation and Sialkot because they have the most dominant side in T20 history ever.

Each team should consist of a squad of 18 members including an icon player, six foreigners and two emerging players from the Under-19s. The rest would be the players present in the national pool.

All the players in the pool should be divided into three categories A, B and C with category-A having a maximum base price and category-C having the minimum. The icon players may get individual price-tags based on their attributes. 

The final XI for each match must have a maximum of four foreigners and at least one emerging player. This distribution would neither disturb the equilibrium of a team nor shift the pendulum to one or two teams.

The teams must play each other twice (or at least once) in the round-robin stage. The leader of the table at the end of round matches should get a direct entry to the final and the team at second or third position may play a play-off to get their ticket to the Final.

Another big concern for Pakistan cricket is the salary per match. Pakistani players are reported to receive PKR 4200 (or $US 45) for every match which is by any means very average.

PSL would surely attract many sponsors and player salary is likely to get a huge boost but non-payment issues haunted recent leagues in Bangladesh (BPL) and Sri Lanka (SLPL).

This issue later became huge enough to eventually loose player’s interest from such leagues. Payment of 50% of contracted pay-check before the league or in early stages of the tournament will help PCB’s cause to a great affect.

This is a basic plan presented by an ordinary cricket fan having a heart for Pakistan. The authorities at PCB and PSL must be wise enough to make this league world class or at least better than the present T20 tournament in the country.

A chemical engineering student at University of Punjab, who is very passionate about cricket like every other child in Pakistan, Israr Ahmed Hashmi has written for many cricketing websites including criclens.com in Pakistan and now CricketWorld.com.

© Cricket World 2014

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