DOHA: Football World Cup 2022 host Qatar is poised to move into the lucrative international Twenty20 cricket market as the venue for the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL), said officials on Tuesday.
Gul Khan, the head of the Qatar Cricket Association, said there was a “70 per cent” chance Doha would host the tournament, to be played in February 2016, following three days of talks with the senior members of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) over the weekend.
The PCB officials are expected to return to Qatar in early September when a final decision will be taken.
“We want some big international tournaments here,” said Gul. “This is a good experience for everybody. It’s good for Qatar, it’s good for cricket.”
He added that “big players, big names” would take part in the tournament.
The PCB is looking for a venue after its first choice of the UAE gave priority to a separate tournament involving former players.
Details of the PSL tournament have yet to be finalised, said Gul, but there will be at least five teams.
Most of the players are expected to be from Pakistan but Gul added they would be looking to bring in players from other major cricket nations including India, Australia and England.
Reports from Pakistan earlier this month claimed the PCB would in September begin the bidding process for team franchises, as well as broadcasting and merchandising rights.
The tournament is expected to be played at Doha’s Asian Town Cricket Stadium, which has a 14,000-seat capacity, and it is likely that all games would be day/night matches.
The event should prove popular among Qatar’s huge Asian community.
There are around 90,000 people from Pakistan living in Qatar, a number which is expected to rise in the near future.
In addition, there are large numbers of people from other Asian cricketing nations including more than half a million residents from India, 150,000 from Bangladesh and 100,000 from Sri Lanka.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2015.
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