ON its final lap in the UAE now the Pakistan Super League will soon lift off to be back on home grounds for its eight scheduled matches including the final to lit up the faces of its followers who would flock in to have a close look at the players who so far they have been watching on the screens.
In the last couple of years this has been the practice to bring back the league in Pakistan to gauge if matches could be held without any problem. And in that exercise the Pakistan Cricket Board has been successful keeping in check all aspects of it in an attempt to bring international cricket back in the country.
It goes without saying too that the PSL — like the Indian Premier League across the border and Big Bash in Australia — has established itself as a brand which is going to strengthen itself even further if managed professionally.
Brought to stand on its feet by the former PCB chairman Najam Sethi and credit must be given to him, this league like others around the globe besides its popularity for having on display a number of foreign players alongside the local talent has been a target of its critics as well for alleged wheeling and dealing for the way some of the matches end.
Some of the players because of this have also been dealt with in the past not only in PSL but also in other leagues.
But that does not take way the gloss from the brand which has a massive following all over the world and could in future may become a lot more financially viable for not only PCB but also for the franchise owners.
Time therefore is ripe now to shift the whole tournament on home grounds and in front of swooning spectators to view their local talent and also overseas players.
Empty seats in the UAE matches have been haunting for the fact that whole contest between the two teams becomes meaningless when played in front of empty stands.
Pakistan being a cricketing nation would obviously see the league in a different perspective to make sure of crowd presence and their security which has been improving all this time.
In a changing world things do become awkward at time but there are always people who succeed in defusing even a serious situation.
Pakistan’s effort in that direction has always been appreciated and the recent political crisis was also professionally handled by the present government led by Imran Khan.
I am glad and so will be the whole nation that the PSL will be on show as scheduled and this direction efforts are being made to organise matches in a safe and cordial environment.
Karachi’s National Stadium is to hold important final stage matches including the final and having met the Commissioner of Karachi Iftikhar Shalwani I am in no doubt that everything will be in good hands.
But what really is most important now for everyone who loves this game so dearly is to make sure to bring back this branded league on to the home ground of Pakistan to not only provide a fresh impetus to the game but also to help induce a lot more interest in the younger generation of this country, hungry to watch the game in flesh.
Unless this league is not brought back in total to be played on the home grounds of Pakistan the vibe to lure back international teams to the country would not be transmitted to the high profile teams of the world to consider a full tour of this country which has been as a host nation a proud record.
Cricket is dear to the heart for every young and old of the country no matter where you go from Chitral to Khyber to the south in Sindh this peace-loving nation’s follower of the game will welcome the change and that is when PSL is brought back to Pakistan.
The prime minister too has indicated for a shift from the adopted and empty home grounds to cities where not only the players but also the viewers will have value for money
The new PCB chairman Ehsan Mani is I am sure of the view too to refresh the league’s image to take it to a different level.
Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2019