When Florentino Perez became Real Madrid president, the billionaire went about creating a team of superstars. In came the likes of David Beckham, Luis Figo, Ronaldo, Zinidine Zidane — the Galacticos. Mostly attacking players signed for ludicrous fees that they would repay not only by what they did during the match but also by the shirts, tickets and merchandise that their names sold. Every year another big name was signed, another headline was created; and millions more came into the Real coffers through shirt sales. For example, Beckham was signed for an eye-watering €35 million from Manchester United yet almost all of it was recovered pretty much instantly as Real sold more than a million Beckham shirts in the first year alone. Karachi Kings’ owner Salman Iqbal has had few qualms in admitting that he has kept a players’ marketability in mind when signing players. This has led to Karachi having hogging some of the biggest names in the PSL. Global household names such as Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara, Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard and Mahela Jayawardene rub shoulders with young but established Pakistan internationals Babar Azam, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Amir.
On paper, Karachi have perhaps the best squad of any PSL side. Yet, in a bid to establish cricket’s Galacticos, the Kings have created a squad devoid of balance. Too many players perform roles way too similar for the good of the team. Karachi are one of the worst teams of the PSL so far; arguably the side underachieving the most. There will be times when these players click in ominous manner, and when they do, nobody will have a chance in hell of stopping them. But the sum of Karachi will never be greater than its parts. For now, the Karachi side is living up to the second part of its name; expensive royalty keeping its position due to ceremony and tradition alone.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2017.
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