Cricketer-turned-commentator Rameez Raja believes the Pakistan Super League can attract even better quality players if it adopts an auction-based system rather than the drafts system it currently uses for player induction.
Per the current system, the players who make themselves available are picked as part of draft picks — a system widely used in North American leagues such as the NBA and the NFL. That system favours league's worst sides as they are awarded earlier draft picks, which subsequently discourages long winning streaks and ensures a level playing field in the long run.
However, it also means that each team has to stay under a predetermined salary cap set and can't go over the budget — a restriction that keeps the absolute cream of world cricket away from the league.
The auction system, however, is what its name suggests. A player can earn as much as anyone is willing to pay for him in open auctions — a system the Indian Premier League has been using with great success, although it favours the more affluent and successful franchises.
Raja believes if the PSL adopts the auction system it too can attract cricketers from the top shelf, telling DawnNewsTV: “I will suggest that we should take it (PSL) to auction rather than draft. It might strengthen the top teams but I feel rest of the teams will also put more effort, and financially, it will become a bigger game.
“Many of the current big names in international cricket will come to play and won’t take it as a dry run [and warm-up] to the next league — IPL — where they get more money. This will increase stakes."
Raja admitted that at this point his suggestion is more a wish rather than anything concrete. “I am not sure if our system can do it or not but personally, I would like to see it that way,” he said.
The former Pakistan captain also talked about the low turnout for PSL matches in Dubai and Sharjah, claiming the league and its teams did not do as much they should've to fill up the stadia.
“I believe we will need to hire tour operators," said Raja. "We will have to take fans from Pakistan. All the stakeholders, who have invested money in the league, they all need to put in an effort because it is important for their product to be visible.
"If you want to hold the league in the UAE, you need tour operators, you need to engage labour camps and cities. I think we took things for granted this year and did not get the response which we received in the last two years.
"But the good thing about the league is that people in Pakistan are still enjoying it."