For the past few years the Pakistan cricket board was making constant efforts to replicate what BCCI has done with the Indian premier league. It has long been the priority of PCB to organize a Pakistan super league to promote and enhance the talent of the country. After several years of efforts and overcoming road blocks on 21 September 2015, Pakistan Super League was officially introduced to the world. The announcement was met with a lot of praise by the former cricketers of the country who believed that PCB was taking a step in the right direction. In the past however, a lot of former cricketers have criticized IPL and other leagues due to various reasons that include corruption, damaging the spirit of the game and damaging test cricket. With the PSL on the horizon I am compelled to ask myself, is PSL really necessary to bring improvement to Pakistan cricket? Is it going to further strengthen the case of ex cricketers who have long been skeptical about promoting league cricket?
On the surface it seems like there are significant advantages of organizing a PSL. A lot of ex cricketers and observers argue that PSL will help polish and extract new talent, furthermore it will also allow some first class cricketers to earn decent amount of money. However, recently the emergence of players like Yasir Shah, Imad Wasim and Muhammed Rizwan has shown that there is still quality talent coming out of the domestic structure. The recently concluded domestic T20 competition also highlighted up and coming players like Iftikhar Ahmed and Imran Khan junior who showed their class by performing brilliantly. Under such circumstances investing significant amount of time and resources in PSL is inadvisable. These same resources can be used to improve the caliber of domestic structure and increase the salaries of first class cricketers.
One other factor that most fans don’t keep in mind is the fact that PCB doesn’t possess the amount of resources that BCCI and other cricket boards have access to. Plus India has more people who are willing to invest in buying their own IPL team when compared to Pakistan. Another factor that is important to note is that it is not possible for PSL to take place in Pakistan. Organizing the league anywhere else in the world would yet again deprive the home fans from cricket and will not have the desired level of impact.
Moving on, the recent controversies that have taken place in IPL is another reason why organizing PSL is dangerous for Pakistan cricket. Pakistan cricket has been notorious for being involved in controversies thus any controversy that involves match fixing or some other pressing issue can tarnish the reputation of the entire league. Even a false report can act as poison for Pakistan cricket. Also with the start of IPL Indian cricket did face a problem where some players were more focused on IPL than test cricket because of the amount of money they were earning playing for their respective franchise. With PSL, chances are that Pakistan cricket board might also face the same problems that BCCI ran into. Issues like match fixing and corruption might further damage the overall reputation of cricket. Each year it is reported that high profile cricketers are involved in match fixing during IPL. This year two of the best teams of IPL: Chennai and Rajasthan were also banned due to betting between the owners, who can guarantee that such cases wouldn’t be repeated in PSL.
Thus, it can be concluded that despite holding several advantages PSL is not a win win situation for the Pakistan cricket board as it does hold a lot of negative aspects that can adversely affect Pakistan cricket. Is PSL necessary? The answer for the time being is no as the objectives that PCB is trying to achieve through the league can be fulfilled by utilizing resources at other places. It is important that PCB first focuses on improving the standard of first class cricket and promoting cricket on a grass root level rather than looking to organize its own league.
By Abdul Basit