PSL: Chasing an alluding dream

Published: February 10, 2013
PCB’s announcement of the delay in the PSL gives the impression of a face-saving strategy rather than tight scheduling or NOC issues. PHOTO: PCB

PCB’s announcement of the delay in the PSL gives the impression of a face-saving strategy rather than tight scheduling or NOC issues. PHOTO: PCB

At a time when it seemed that international cricketers would finally turn up in Pakistan after a gap of more than three years, the latest postponement of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) could possibly mean that international cricket will not resume during Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf’s tenure.

The announcement came as a blow for cricket lovers who have been dying to see their players back in action in their own country. On the other hand, experts are relieved by the development as they believe that the PSL remains a double-edged sword and it may have been too early to stage it.

Ever since being appointed the PCB chief, Ashraf has reiterated that his main aim is to bring international cricket back to Pakistan in order to end the drought that stretches back to the 2009 after an armed attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

The board has said that it will announce the new dates of PSL soon, but the question arises, when?

The original dates of March 26-April 7 this year may not have been ideal to attract international players due to prior commitments with their respective national sides and the Indian Premier League (IPL) looming. However, there was a chance that some top players along with some average ones would have helped Pakistan in redeeming the lost confidence of hosting an international series.

There have been indications that the top cricket boards of the world would not have released their players due to security concerns in Pakistan while players associations were too pressing against the PSL.

Sports in Pakistan is very closely related to politics; both are yet to be separated despite pressure from the International Cricket Council (ICC), which stressed that the PCB chairman should be elected instead of being directly appointed by the Patron of the board who is the President of Pakistan.

With the current ruling government close to completing its tenure and elections around the corner, it seems that by the time the PCB announces new dates of the PSL, there will be a new PCB chairman if the ruling political party fails to win enough votes.

Given the culture of Pakistan cricket, the appointment of a new chairman would mean everything restarting from scratch. Thus the money splashed on roping in former ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat as PSL consultant for a staggering $25,000 per month may go down the drain.

Even those involved in the venture appear doubtful of the future of the glittering Twenty20 (T20) event that had to be delayed for a second time. Although the PCB is trying to put on a brave face about it, there is a big difference in what they claim and what they can actually do.

Is this move of postponement a deliberate act by the PCB to save face after all the tall claims they had made?

The common sense says yes because they were struggling to rope in the biggest names in cricket despite claims that they had signed 80 foreign players for the auction. Being a foreigner does not guarantee success as there are dozens of players who are in search of quick money since their international careers either didn’t blossom or have ended.

On a more practical note, what PCB can do is improve its own domestic T20 event by breaking their kitty so that players can earn handsome money. This would help scores of domestic cricketers to live a better life besides sending a soft message to the foreign players that Pakistan is a market which would gradually become a giant in years to come. Strengthening domestic events would be a smarter move on the part of the PCB as it will build confidence. They can then decide to run an international edition in the future.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Feb 10, 2013 - 12:05PM

    good analysis… we seem too obsessed with prestige ‘white’ playersRecommend

  • Feb 10, 2013 - 1:31PM

    It was DOA to begin with. PCB does not have capability to organize such event nor the security situation in pak will allow it for now.


  • Hassan J
    Feb 11, 2013 - 2:05AM

    Why not have a PSL in Duabi / Abu Dhabi / Sharjah and its final in Lahore. Remember that IPL 2 was also staged in South Africa so why PSL cant be staged in Emirates. Show strength of cricket organization first, make strong brand name and then bring it to Pakistan


  • Bala
    Feb 11, 2013 - 8:24AM

    @Hassan J:

    Money Money Money — who will pay the bills?


  • In the name of love (what more)
    Feb 11, 2013 - 5:06PM

    i believe hosting psl in uae perhaps will attract more international players to it than hosting it in pakistan, where hardly any top international players wud want to be a part of it…coinciding it with ipl would indeed have been suicidal…pakistan doesnot have to try and prove a point to india every time…ipl is way too strong not only for pak, but even for all the other leagues around the world combined…once psl is indeed a success in uae and money comes flowing in,wud then come the possibility of shifting it to pak…


  • Syed
    Feb 13, 2013 - 7:01PM

    PCB and Zaka Ashraf continue to make a fool of themselves and embarassment for Pakistan cricket supporter Why are they hung up on foreign players? The last paragraph of this good analysis sums it up, have a local ‘professional’ league establish franchises and make a start. Provide decent earnings to abundant of local talented players, provide stimulus to local economy. So what if the highest salary is not in $sixfigures? even fraction of that is a good income to many local players. If some foreign player want to come and play he is most welcome, if not than we understand.

    They will find that once they establish it it will prosper with time. We are not BD to depend on foreign players, when the time is right they will come. Unfortunately time is not right at the moment and the more we get hung up on this the more prolong this time will be….


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