Pakistan cricket April 6, 2012

The opportunity in a Pakistan Premier League

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
32

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • 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.

  • yasir on September 9, 2012, 12:41 GMT

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

  • Shajath ali on May 19, 2012, 4:15 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • yasir nadeem on April 25, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    WE WANT PPL IN KARACHI

  • KHAN on April 16, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    WELL I AM HAPPY WITH THE DECISION OF BANGLADESH.THAT WAS A GREAT STEP TAKEN BY BCB.NOW WE WANT TO INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS IN OUR GROUNDS LIKE CH GAYLE KA POLLARD AC BLIZZARD AND MORE PLAYERS IN PPL.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • yasir on September 9, 2012, 12:41 GMT

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

  • Shajath ali on May 19, 2012, 4:15 GMT

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

  • 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.

  • yasir nadeem on April 25, 2012, 17:02 GMT

    WE WANT PPL IN KARACHI

  • KHAN on April 16, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    WELL I AM HAPPY WITH THE DECISION OF BANGLADESH.THAT WAS A GREAT STEP TAKEN BY BCB.NOW WE WANT TO INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS IN OUR GROUNDS LIKE CH GAYLE KA POLLARD AC BLIZZARD AND MORE PLAYERS IN PPL.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • khalil on April 14, 2012, 2:57 GMT

    Criteria for International test ranking is as dubious as the D/Lewis Method for awarding a game to a side in unfinished fixtures. Why can,t the ICC make it simple so that everybody understands it. weightage should be given to winning away series rather than home series. A side winning in all conditions ,home & away should be taken into account. How can we explain the ranking of a side losing 8 or 5 away test matches on the trot & still retaining their ICC ranking. Surprising ? AUS can be termed the true champion of test cricket of all times by virtue of their approach to the game since their 1st match in the history of cricket.

  • hus on April 13, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    The top 3 teams in the world AUS,SA & ENG have separate capts for all 3 formats of the game. We see how successful they are. So there is no harm in having 3 different leaders in test,ODI & T20.

  • hussain on April 13, 2012, 17:46 GMT

    T20 cricket has just killed the art of fast bowling. No tear away fast bowlers in Pak side is an example.We are turning to the old horses which will be a big mistake. Induct fresh blood & invest in future rather than testing the already tested.

  • khalil on April 13, 2012, 17:40 GMT

    Is Geo Super an Indian channel in terms of IPL ? or Parai shadi mai Abdullah Dewana ?

  • Indianfan on April 12, 2012, 10:25 GMT

    @pak_wellwisher - Its not like that Pakistan dont deserve the international cricket at home.But as a country pakistan must have to accept that what will be the conciouncies if story of attack on srilankan cricket will be followed further.& Just imagine sentimants of indians in india if same will happen to indian cricket team in pakistan...

  • Hassan Farooqi on April 11, 2012, 12:53 GMT

    It was Karachi that lead. The Karachi "Premier League" inaugurated by city mayor Mustafa Kamal, saw stadium full matches without any incident. The first prize being one crore rupees. So much for the propoganda that Karachi is the most dangerous city in Pakistan. Compared to that, the PCB sponsored tournament in Lahore could not fill the stadium although it was national level. It proved the problem was with Ejaz Butt, not with cricket fans. Zaka Ashraf is a businessman, and hopefully would make PPL successful.

  • pak_wellwisher on April 11, 2012, 10:15 GMT

    As a pakistani - we must have to agree that we fail to provide security to internation cricketer Hence, we dont deserve an international match till our politician/military will improve the conditions in our beloved & gr8 countryland.inshallah.

  • IndianFan on April 11, 2012, 7:41 GMT

    Strange that any discussion about pakistan cricket will have something compared with indian cricket or something about an indian player, IPL etc. cant understand why so many people here are commenting on these lines. I think this is the problem with everything in pakistan, be it politics, cricket etc. Its high time that pakistan stops thinking about india when it makes every single move. Unless that change is seen, there is no way that things can improve. In fact there are no takers for this attitude any other country in the world now. So use the energy for good deeds.

    Good Luck.

  • Hazrat Wali on April 9, 2012, 11:43 GMT

    PPL is one of the best thing to start not just for Pakistan but it would be beneficial for the whole Asian nations to play in the PPL. PCB can invite players from the Asian teams if they are unable to bring overseas players, the new teams like Afghanistan and other Arabic teams could be a big asset for PPL.

  • Salman Ali on April 9, 2012, 0:33 GMT

    PCB should move step by step. Continue with hosting at neutral venues and convince to play one of the ODIs in Pakistan. This can then be expanded to entire ODI series and then eventually Test Matches.

    Another area PCB should focus on is building "A" Team and placing talented youngesters in Domestic First Class of South Africa, England etc.

  • hafeez khan on April 8, 2012, 3:08 GMT

    The comments and proposals put forward is somewhat considerable. Pakistani people are cricket loving people our market is not so big as Indian but we have talent, in this dark days without any International cricket our young players sowing there talent which could be seen in the last T20 tournament PCB can give big financial benefits to foreign players to attract them even at this time the games can be played in Gulf area, and when conditions looks suitable the game can be started in own grounds

  • Shahid on April 7, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    T20 league is surely the right path to ultimately bring back international matches to Pakistan stadiums but I doubt that PCB as always will not be able to plan or execute the league in an appropriate manner. The events should be a total picture of enjoyment and adventure and should beat the existing ones. Security in a big big issue. Not that I fear much from the local extrimists but I am sure there are some foriegn agencies who will try to close the doors on our cricket for ever.

  • Amit on April 7, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Well said. But easier said than done. The global factors aside, the political landscape in Pakistan tends to be an important factor, given the accountability to the parliament and the appointment process of the PCB mgmt. On these alone, we are on shaky grounds. While the long term needs to be planed for, the stakeholders change so often that nothing is seemingly achieved. Pak is blessed with talent, but in the absence of proper guidance, not enough of that is nurtured. Education, and general grooming of players remains an unaddressed issue. A lot has to cm together for lofty ambitions to succeed, but if it does happen, what a day wud that be!

  • imran on April 7, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    i saw last three games of domestic t20 cup and its not bad.. i mean standered was pretty good. t20 is most coomon format in paksitan anyway. and i agree that we should improve it and international players and sponsers will be attracted automatically

  • nadeem ahmed on April 7, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    this is very good decision by pcb they have to conduct tise type game for improvement of pakistan cricket

  • Irfan Awan on April 7, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    I think the first thing which needs to be done is to address the security concern. We were completely failed to provide security to Srilankan team in Lahore. Since Pakistan always have a very good relationship with Srilanka So i think its a more preferable option to invite them in Pakistan again with strong security support. if such visit will be successful then definitely it will bring some confidence to invite other teams to visit our country.

  • hamza kashmiri on April 7, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    cricket will be surely back in pakistan soon ....inshallah.

  • Spoticause on April 7, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Shazli, thanx for your input, consider indian team playing all their matches outside india, what would their ICC ranking be. Time to come out of shells now and support the truth that Pak cricket fans need better response this time from around the world and especially from the neighbors. Peace

  • Adi on April 7, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    @ Shazli you are very wrong .... in situation u do not look at the number they will miss lead you . when i was kid growing in fasialabad we did not see many match in fact none, only few time we will go to Iqbal stadum for last 30 of the day as it was free, but when we say our heros playing in local nation stadum it creats a different atmosphere then they playing in MCG (if saw yousaf making 100 against aus), it gave us the a dream and reasons to play sports when see ground full Pakistani plages it makes to become Wasim Imran Javed and Waqar......you can not create that in UAE or anywhere on the Face of earth but Pakistan

  • Shazli on April 6, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Bringing back international cricket to Pakistan should be a long-term goal, not a short-term objective. The path carries more threat than opportunities and should be treaded carefully. In my opinion, watching international matches in a stadium is an opportunity that comes your way once in many years. I don't think it affects the cricketing ability/interests of the nation greatly. How many matches does one city get in a year anyway? How many matches did fans in Hyderabad, Chennai or Kolkata manage to watch in 3 years. 2 or 3 at most. Did this affect the cricketing abilities of the people in those cities? Hardly if any.

  • farzana-dawakhana on April 6, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    kamran Abbasi looks like an overjoyed squirrel in his picture.

  • aftab from VB on April 6, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    Great article! Hope PCB pays attention.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • aftab from VB on April 6, 2012, 15:37 GMT

    Great article! Hope PCB pays attention.

  • farzana-dawakhana on April 6, 2012, 19:19 GMT

    kamran Abbasi looks like an overjoyed squirrel in his picture.

  • Shazli on April 6, 2012, 19:20 GMT

    Bringing back international cricket to Pakistan should be a long-term goal, not a short-term objective. The path carries more threat than opportunities and should be treaded carefully. In my opinion, watching international matches in a stadium is an opportunity that comes your way once in many years. I don't think it affects the cricketing ability/interests of the nation greatly. How many matches does one city get in a year anyway? How many matches did fans in Hyderabad, Chennai or Kolkata manage to watch in 3 years. 2 or 3 at most. Did this affect the cricketing abilities of the people in those cities? Hardly if any.

  • Adi on April 7, 2012, 2:18 GMT

    @ Shazli you are very wrong .... in situation u do not look at the number they will miss lead you . when i was kid growing in fasialabad we did not see many match in fact none, only few time we will go to Iqbal stadum for last 30 of the day as it was free, but when we say our heros playing in local nation stadum it creats a different atmosphere then they playing in MCG (if saw yousaf making 100 against aus), it gave us the a dream and reasons to play sports when see ground full Pakistani plages it makes to become Wasim Imran Javed and Waqar......you can not create that in UAE or anywhere on the Face of earth but Pakistan

  • Spoticause on April 7, 2012, 3:14 GMT

    Shazli, thanx for your input, consider indian team playing all their matches outside india, what would their ICC ranking be. Time to come out of shells now and support the truth that Pak cricket fans need better response this time from around the world and especially from the neighbors. Peace

  • hamza kashmiri on April 7, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    cricket will be surely back in pakistan soon ....inshallah.

  • Irfan Awan on April 7, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    I think the first thing which needs to be done is to address the security concern. We were completely failed to provide security to Srilankan team in Lahore. Since Pakistan always have a very good relationship with Srilanka So i think its a more preferable option to invite them in Pakistan again with strong security support. if such visit will be successful then definitely it will bring some confidence to invite other teams to visit our country.

  • nadeem ahmed on April 7, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    this is very good decision by pcb they have to conduct tise type game for improvement of pakistan cricket

  • imran on April 7, 2012, 8:24 GMT

    i saw last three games of domestic t20 cup and its not bad.. i mean standered was pretty good. t20 is most coomon format in paksitan anyway. and i agree that we should improve it and international players and sponsers will be attracted automatically

  • Amit on April 7, 2012, 17:45 GMT

    Well said. But easier said than done. The global factors aside, the political landscape in Pakistan tends to be an important factor, given the accountability to the parliament and the appointment process of the PCB mgmt. On these alone, we are on shaky grounds. While the long term needs to be planed for, the stakeholders change so often that nothing is seemingly achieved. Pak is blessed with talent, but in the absence of proper guidance, not enough of that is nurtured. Education, and general grooming of players remains an unaddressed issue. A lot has to cm together for lofty ambitions to succeed, but if it does happen, what a day wud that be!