LAHORE: The Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) seventh edition added Rs2 billion to the country’s cricket board’s reserves, its spokesperson told reporters here on Friday.

The edition, held earlier this year, was the first in the PSL’s history to be staged fully in Pakistan with matches held in Karachi and Lahore.

The 2022 PSL was also the first after complications emerging due to the Covid-19 pandemic marred the past two seasons.

According to the spokesperson, the disturbance caused by the pandemic had also resulted in a Rs700 million loss for the PCB after it had to pay the six franchises Rs1 billion for shifting to the United Arab Emirates after disruptions halted the tournaments.

However, after the recent influx, the PCB’s reserves now stand at Rs15 billion, which the board’s official termed as “healthy financial condition”.

The next edition of the PSL, he revealed, will be played across four cities, namely Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi.

Further financial details are expected to be revealed early next week. However, the spokesperson said the PCB was not in a position to issue details about the net profit earned by the franchises.

Despite being in good financial health, the PCB hasn’t considered increasing the pension for the retired cricketers this year. The last increment came in 2019.

The spokesperson said annual increments for pension earners were not a part of the board’s policy and that the matter was “under review”.

The PCB started compensating retired players monthly in 2004-05 during Shaharyar Khan’s chairmanship tenure. After 18 years since the initiative was taken, the monthly pension bracket is between Rs42,000 and Rs55,000.

Some ex-cricketers, who played in an era when the sport was not as lucrative as it is nowadays, are suffering due to tough financial challenges.

While the former cricketers’ case stays under review, the PCB is mulling over increments for the ones active currently.

The spokesperson said player salaries in the central contracts for the 2022-23 fiscal year and the number of contracted players will be increased.

“Discussions are ongoing about giving contracts to more than 20 players in the next fiscal year,” he said, adding that two separate central contracts for white-ball and Test players are also under consideration.

A fund to compensate players who skip league cricket opportunities for national duty is also being contemplated, said the spokesperson.

MULTAN BACK-UP VENUE FOR WINDIES SERIES

Pakistan’s upcoming Twenty20 International series against the West Indies is set to go ahead as scheduled in Rawalpindi. However, keeping in consideration the current political scenario in the country, the PCB has named Multan as the back-up venue.

Pakistan squad for the three T20 games, to be held from June 5 to 12, will be announced on May 23, while the national team players will gather for a camp in Rawalpindi from May 29.

After the West Indies series, Pakistan are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka for two Tests. The tour was to feature three One-day Internationals as well before they were scrapped due to political and economic crisis in the island country.

The PCB spokesperson was confident that the Test series will go ahead as planned. He added the board would cooperate with its Sri Lankan counterpart even if the latter proposed the matches to be played at a neutral venue.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2022

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