The PCB are scrambling to get the PSL back up and running in no time
Pakistan’s vision of bringing international cricket back to their shores through the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has suffered a serious setback after it was announced that the proposed Twenty20 tournament would be postponed indefinitely.
According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the PSL, which was scheduled to run from March 26 to April 7, was put on hold in order to allow the organisers to sort out some logistical issues.
The PCB also issued a statement which further explained that the tournament’s delay was also partially attributed to the fact that the board wanted to give investors more time to submit their bids and to ensure that the PSL does not clash with any other tournament that may be scheduled during the same period of time.
The decision to postpone the PSL was finalised after PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf met with Pakistan interior minister Rehman Malik in Islamabad.
The PCB have formed a committee to overlook the progress of the tournament and help get it back up and running as soon as possible.
“The decision to move away from the planned dates of the PSL is an extremely difficult one but for the benefit of all stakeholders and the league,” PSL managing director Salman Sarwar Butt said. “The PCB management has decided to reschedule the event and move it to a period where there are fewer scheduling conflicts, and the stakeholders get enough time to develop their business plans.”
According to the PSL business model, which was unveiled on January 10, the PCB’s revenue generated by the tournament could be worth “in excess of $100 million over the years”.
The tournament was set to feature five franchises and have a total of 23 matches to be played in one location, which was not disclosed.
The PCB also announced the base prices of the players, but failed to reveal any of the 50 international players, who they claimed, expressed interest in participating in the tournament.
The board is also confident that they will have more than enough bids on the five franchises and sort out broadcasting rights within the next month.
“Over 15 potential franchise buyers, around 10 top broadcasters and various potential sponsors from large business houses have collected the bid documents and shown extremely keen interest in acquiring respective rights,” Butt said. “However, there are several other investors who would like us to give them more time for our various rights.”
The PCB and many of the Pakistan national players were hoping the tournament would go ahead as scheduled since the country has not hosted an international series after the Sri Lankan national team were ambushed by armed militants in March 2009, which left eight locals dead and six players injured.
Since that day, every other international team have feared touring Pakistan and as a result, the national team have had to play all of their ‘home’ series in the United Arab Emirates or another neutral venue.
The Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) have also warned players to stay away from the PSL numerous times since the security situation in Pakistan is still volatile.
The PSL was also scheduled to clash with pre-election campaigns being held before the general elections in May and FICA believes this could incite further violence in the already war-torn country.
Reports have also been flooding out of Pakistan stating that there were suggestions for the PSL to be held in the United Arab Emirates or in another neutral venue, but the PCB are adamant on hosting the tournament on home soil since they are eager on “improving the image of the country and revival of international cricket”.
“There is no way we are backing down from our major objective,” PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf said. “We are extremely encouraged by various stakeholders including the broadcasters and financiers from across the world and looking at the response it gives us a lot of confidence that our league is a success. We envisage that as suggested, the shift in our timelines will drive more interested stakeholders towards PSL and make this one of the most sought after league in the cricketing world.”