It’s the last over. The emotions in the stadium are palpable. Chris Gayle is on strike, facing Mohammad Amir who is stretching for his last run-up of the game.

I glance around to see the entire Gadaffi stadium on its feet; hands in the air — young and old alike. Five runs are required off the last ball. The match is exhilarating. Is it going to be Lahore Qalandars or Karachi Kings?

I secretly wish for Lahore’s win and hope that thousands of people sharing the stands with me do, too.

Amir delivers the final ball. The bat makes a sweet sound as Gayle connects.

And then I hear a faint, unpleasant noise; a sound I do not want to recognise. I focus my attention on locating the ball. But the sound is getting louder, clouding my thoughts.

I wake up to find myself in my bedroom, getting late for class. I quickly get dressed and run to the university.

Pakistan Super League (PSL) is all over the news. After years of false starts, the idea of Pakistan’s own mighty T20 league finally seems to be materialising. Ever since the idea was put forward in 2007, cricket fans have been on the lookout for the finalised project to surface, restlessly dreaming for it to come true.

Well, wait no more.

The PSL will be taking place between February 4-23 next year. After closely considering the different venues, the board decided to opt for Dubai and Sharjah for the inaugural season.

Stars like Gayle, Shane Watson, Brett Lee, Kevin Peitersen (to name a few) are on board, while Mickey Arthur, Moin Khan, Mushtaq Ahmed and Paddy Upton among others have also been finalised for the coaching panel.

Also read: Karachi attracts highest bid as PSL teams sold for $93 million

The first edition of PSL will feature five teams namely Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi. Even though the Karachi and Islamabad franchises could have been a tad creative with their names, fans from the respective cities are elated on seeing these teams surface.

Earnings per player are categorised as follows:

  • Platinum $140,000
  • Diamond $70,000
  • Gold $50,000.

It is said that the junior players in the Silver category are likely to earn $25,000 each, while players from the Emerging category are likely to earn $10,000 each during the league.

This is particularly rewarding for local players who miss out on earning a decent amount through domestic games alone. This financial stimulus will also play a substantial part in encouraging budding cricketers from across Pakistan to pursue the game professionally.

Ensuring that these players have a shot at earning decent amounts may also abate the prevalence of activities like gambling, match-fixing — though this is still debatable.

Nonetheless, PSL is promising a lucrative overall package for the junior players. Apart from the attractive financial incentives, sharing the dressing room with names like Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Brad Haddin and co can go a long way in prepping young players for the future.

With no substantial international cricket at home for a while, this opportunity of playing with and against international giants of the game will greatly nurture the local players’ skill sets.

Moreover, the PSL is likely to elevate the junior players’ confidence and may also impart in them a sense of professionalism — something we need big time.

Also read: Why the Pakistan Super League is a win-win situation

The PSL is also providing an opportunity to learn from the masters themselves. It has appointed a talented panel of local and foreign coaches to mentor and groom the players for the three-week clash.

Paddy Upton (South Africa) is on board with the Lahore Qalandars as the head coach, Moin Khan will be seen with the Quetta Gladiators, Islamabad United have bagged Dean Jones (Australia), Peshawar Zalmi have appointed Mohammad Akram while Mickey Arthur (South Africa) will be coaching Karachi Kings.

Training under these veterans will markedly refine the developing players in terms of technique, communication and attitude.

Where there are costs concerned with staging such an event abroad, there will also be substantial revenue generated due to the venue factor.

I know it’s pitiable not getting to experience the PSL at home, but the board has been capitalising on UAE as home turf for a good number of years now. It does not take a genius to estimate the expected crowd that the PSL will be able to pull. UAE is filled with cricket fans from the subcontinent so do not be surprised at seeing a full-house!

From the Pathans with Afridi banners to the Gayle fans, everyone will turn up to watch their stars perform.

Moreover, February in the Gulf is pleasantly chilly, which will further boost the crowds. Revenues generated by the board through gate-money/ticketing along with sponsorship/broadcasting rights, after distribution among the franchises, will be plowed back into the development of cricket in the country.

Instead of conducting trials across the country to dig out fast bowlers, this money should be invested in providing better facilities to regional training camps and clubs.

To some degree, it is indeed regrettable that the PSL will not be played at its home, where it belongs. To say that the fans across the country are dying to witness their heroes play some remarkable cricket would be stating the obvious.

Despite Zaka Ashraf’s hopes and efforts to stage the league in Pakistan, it was understood since the beginning that this would most likely not be the case.

However, we can all bet on the fact that if the league succeeds in making waves, it will inevitably come home in two to four years. Everything depends on how well the board is able to execute the event, create a universal appeal, brand PSL successfully and avoid negative publicity.

It is said that the franchises will grow from five to eight in the next four years, which means an influx of players and stakeholders is expected. It will be intriguing to see how soon PCB brings the league home.

Maybe soon I will find my partially abandoned Gadaffi stadium dream become a reality.

Good luck, PCB!



Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...
Injustice undone
Updated 13 Jul, 2024

Injustice undone

The SC verdict is a stunning reversal of fortunes for a party that was, both before and after general elections, being treated as a defunct entity.
Looming flour shortage
13 Jul, 2024

Looming flour shortage

FOR once, it is hard to argue against the reason that compelled flour mills to call a nationwide strike from...
Same old script
13 Jul, 2024

Same old script

WHEN it comes to the troubling issue of enforced disappearances/ missing persons — either Baloch or belonging to...