April 6, 2012

Pakistan cricket

The opportunity in a Pakistan Premier League

Kamran Abbasi
Kolkata Knight Riders with their first IPL trophy, Kolkata Knight Riders v Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2012, final, Chennai, May 27, 2012
Can Pakistan have a tournament along the lines of the IPL?  © AFP


Rumours of the death of Pakistan cricket, it seems, have been greatly exaggerated. If flowers can bloom in the desert, Pakistan cricket can thrive without the security glare of home internationals. Recently, the Pakistan Cricket Board has struck a desperate tone in its failed attempt to attract Bangladesh to tour, and heightened its folly by trumpeting the current tour by a British Universities team.

International cricket in Pakistan is desirable but that will be an arduous behind-the-scenes struggle of diplomacy and reassurance. In the meantime, the PCB must pursue a two-pronged strategy. The first component of this is to establish international cricket at neutral venues as a successful enterprise; not so successful that international cricket need not return to Pakistan, but successful enough to satisfy fans, players, and accountants.

The second element is to create a thriving and marketable domestic game, one that allows fan enjoyment, player development, and advertiser investment. The success of Pakistan's own T20 tournaments has confirmed that all three requirements can be met, even in international isolation. It is under these circumstances that talk of a Pakistan Premier League is to be welcomed.

When the idea was first mooted, any attempt to ape the Indian Premier League, especially in Pakistan, seemed a folly--and if the organisers do venture down the same path they should be warned of trouble ahead. Pakistan's security environment makes a less than compelling argument for global stars to return to Pakistan en masse, which is one of the primary objectives according to the PCB. Instead, the focus of any Pakistan Premier League should be to showcase and develop the thrilling talent that emerges from Pakistan's cities and villages at high frequency.

Pakistan may not be blessed with security or wealth but it is blessed with cricketing talent, players that acquire an added fascination with the withdrawal of international tours. Pakistan's population is projected to reach over 300 million in 2050, which could place it among the world's five largest countries by population. That combination of a marketable product, the cricketers and their style of play, and the size of the market, offer an opportunity for long term success, provided the PCB begins to plan sensibly.

In this respect, the PCB must make Pakistan's domestic cricket strong to ensure that the Pakistani game remains resilient and independent in these challenging times. Indeed, a strong domestic game can only help further Pakistan's progress in the international arena. Traditionally, Pakistan's domestic circuit has contributed little to international success. Imagine what could be achieved?

The Pakistan Premier League is an opportunity but it needs to be played right, for the sake of long-term investment in the health of Pakistan cricket and not for the short-term wealth of players, administrators, and politicians. The more attractive Pakistan cricket becomes to outsiders looking in, the harder it will be to dismiss in the boardrooms of cricket governing bodies and global corporations.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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Keywords: Backyard / street cricket

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Posted by Talha on (September 27, 2012, 2:05 GMT)

Zaka ashraf..pls read the comments of all these ppl with expertise and their own playing XI.

Posted by yasir on (September 9, 2012, 12:41 GMT)

pakistan .................

Posted by Shajath ali on (May 19, 2012, 4:15 GMT)

Pakistan must need t20 leage.pakistan have big business man who are arangeing t20 leage

Posted by Nomaan on (May 11, 2012, 2:11 GMT)

Please people stop this insanity of bringing cricket to Pak. Lets solve the situation of law and order in the country and than go for cricket. Haste makes waste so be patient. Country is on the verge of collapse and all we think is of planing PPL. What is the guaranty that we can provide all of the overseas international players and official safe security. We have loads to re-build in our nation. Cricket is just a part of it not the whole of it. Be realistic and work accordingly.

Posted by yasir nadeem on (April 25, 2012, 17:02 GMT)


Posted by KHAN on (April 16, 2012, 16:19 GMT)


Posted by khalil on (April 15, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

May be Umar Akmal matures with age.He falls in the category of AB Devilliers & Michael Clark,whom you can,t fix in the crease.But the degree of effectivenesss of both of them is much more than Akmal. We should leave U Akmal to his own & let him play his own game. He is hearing the resonance of praise showered on him & succumbs under the pressure of expectations.

Posted by akb on (April 14, 2012, 14:53 GMT)

captains are almost always groomed. It is very rare to have born leaders. In cricket Mike Brearly may be an example but it is normal practice by the cricket boards to train them for future leadership. If we look around the world of cricket Devilliers is ready to take over from Smith & Cook is equally capable to lead in case Straus falls. But what we are doing we don,t have a vice capt even to replace Misbah at the critical juncture of his carrier. A young untrained/ungroomed capt will be finding it very difficult to adjust. By the way Misbah by virtue of his experience & age didn,t face the same problem. But looking forward we should not select players for short periods of time. we should think playing them for atleast 10 yrs. Misbah,saeed though very successful may not last long. Cheema falls in the same category.

Posted by hussain on (April 14, 2012, 3:14 GMT)

T20 cricket is very dangerous for test cricket in the long run. After a decade we may not find the likes of Tendulkar, Lara or Inzimam. Anybody coming to the crease will think of hitting a 6 instead of staying at it.

Posted by hus on (April 14, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

I still don,t understand that how the players of non asian teams while throwing a ball from the boundry directly hit the wickets so frequently. Its so important that when you can,t take the wicket of a good player having good technique,you have to think about running him out. Mind it most of the prolific scorers are poor runners between the wicket. Julian must think on it.

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Kamran Abbasi
Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He was the first Asian columnist for Wisden Cricket Monthly and Kamran is the international editor of the British Medical Journal. @KamranAbbasi

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