“Bigger, better and more entertaining.” Or so promised PSL brand ambassador Ramiz Raja when describing what will be different in the second edition. The PCB have certainly made giant strides; better off for the experience that they gained from the first edition. The marketing and preparations have been better, and the hype is certainly reaching dizzying heights. Najam Sethi’s promise of making the PSL cricket’s second biggest league certainly doesn’t sound like hyperbole anymore. If the first one didn’t cement that status for the league then the second one certainly will. And then there are the players; along came former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum and England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan to add even more stardust to the league. South African batsman Rilee Roussow and West Indian all-rounder Keiron Pollard, are also welcome additions. However, certain household names selected for the first edition will not be there this time around. Islamabad United’s Andre Russell, star turn and World T20 winner, is banned from all cricketing activities. Shaun Tait and Dwayne Bravo are among those who miss out due to injury. Bangladesh’s Shakibal Hasan, Mustafizur Rahman and Mushfiqur Rahim have international commitments. Then there is the final in Lahore. The PCB is adamant that it will be held in Pakistan, allowing the people of Pakistan to fully own the league that is currently held in a land far, far away.
The excitement, understandably, is reaching fever pitch. Often at such times there is the risk of the occasion failing to live up to the hype; of expectations spiralling out of control. Not every match will be a nail-biter, nor will all the star players perform. The final may not even take place in Lahore and your favourite team may be the first one to get knocked out. But Ramiz’s promise is almost certain to come true. This will be bigger and better. So let the games begin.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2017.
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