PCB invites proposals for T20 league
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has begun the process of setting up a Twenty20 league in the country by soliciting proposals for the creation of such a tournament from a number of companies, a board official has said. Eight companies, including Ten Sports, Nimbus and Geo TV, have already made their pitches to the PCB, while another three are expected to do so this week.
"The purpose of the sessions was to hear the ideas and concepts and each one came with in-depth studies," Subhan Ahmed, the board's chief operating officer, told ESPNcricinfo. "We have no fixed ideas, and are being open minded, but one thing we know is that we do not want a clone of the IPL or BPL. Our product won't resemble the conventional type of league and even the name won't be the Pakistan Premier League (PPL)."
Ahmed said the board would evaluate all the proposals once the presentation process ends next week. The board is believed to want to hold the tournament in October, but security concerns could force them to adjust their dates. No international cricket has been played in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009 and the possibility of having international players participate would depend largely on the level of security provided for the tournament.
Ahmed said the board has informed the government of their plans at a preliminary level and that they have been assured of the government's support in this regard, but a detailed security plan will only be put together once the structure of the league has been determined. "Let things be chalked out and then we will take the government on board at a higher level for the detailed security plan for the event."
He also said that there are parties who have offered to bring in "foreign players as a part of their support to Pakistan".
The PCB is keen to launch a league of its own because there is plenty of interest from the business community in the country. "They understand how much money is involved in it and they are ready to invest and endure the cost of such a league," Ahmed said. "So realistically there is less of a chance that we have to look outside Pakistan to generate money for the event."
The concept of a T20 league in Pakistan was first raised by former PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf who wanted to launch a league to rival the IPL in 2009. However, the idea was dropped after then president Pervez Musharraf was removed from power. Pakistan players were part of the inaugural IPL in 2008 but have not played in the tournament since the terrorist attack on Mumbai later in the same year.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent and Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo