KARACHI: Next year’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) is expected to be more competitive as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is planning to introduce an additional team, Kashmir, in its second edition, expected to start in February next year.
The addition of Kashmir will certainly send shockwaves around the world given its geo-political importance to both Pakistan and arch-rival India.
Players from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) have been participating in domestic tournaments since a long time, but never has a team specific to the region been formed before, even in the glitzy and glamorous Indian Premier League.
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Reports had been circulating around in the media that an additional team is expected to be part of next year’s PSL roster and PSL Governing Council Chairman Najam Sethi confirmed the truth in those reports when he tweeted that: “My dream is to launch a sixth team, Kashmir, in the PSL this year. Hope our five franchisees will support me in this initiative.”
The move has been backed by Peshawar Zalmi owner Javed Afridi openly, while other franchise owners have opted to remain silent, with sources suggesting they will make their announcements in the first week of May.
Javed, meanwhile, stated that if the PSL management intends to carry out a vote for the induction of a sixth team, his vote will be for Kashmir. “If the management starts a vote of confidence for another team in the PSL, I’ll strongly recommend Kashmir as it gives a soft message to the world’s sports arena,” said Afridi.
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He further added that the initiative should not be restricted to just AJK but plans should be made to induct players even from Indian-occupied Kashmir.
“I feel that the initiative shouldn’t be restricted to AJK and we should find ways of incorporating cricketers from Indian-occupied Kashmir too,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 24th, 2016.
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