THE Pakistan Super League juggernaut is set to start rolling once again at Karachi’s National Stadium today, with four teams ready to battle it out for the title, the quest for which was abruptly suspended in March this year due to Covid-19 concerns. There is much excitement as more than 20 foreign cricket stars are featuring in the remaining PSL games alongside Pakistan’s leading players for Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings. Though the matches of this fifth PSL edition will be played behind closed doors and in empty stadiums, the fans will be able to see the contest live on television screens and are anticipating quality cricket over the next few days. Indeed, the cash-rich PSL, which is the PCB’s flagship event, has made great strides since its inception in 2016 and is ranked only behind the Indian Premier League in terms of popularity among the many T20 leagues being staged around the world. The fact that PSL has evolved into a global event after its five seasons is beyond debate. With every season the league has become bigger and better, attracting leading players from hosts Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, England, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and other nations, besides attracting top sponsors, broadcasters and, most importantly, fans.
It is for this reason that so many foreign players have once again converged on Karachi to play the last four matches to decide the winner. With the New Zealand tour coming up, these games will serve as sound preparation for Pakistan that will be rubbing shoulders with world-class players such as South African captain Faf du Plessis, Carlos Brathwaite and others. Having said that, the rapidly widening gulf between the PSL franchise owners and PCB over the new financial model of the lucrative league is a matter of concern as it could prove detrimental to the future of the extravaganza. The earlier these issues are sorted out, the better it will be for Pakistan cricket.
Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2020