Pakistan seek Lorgat's help for launching T20 league
Haroon Lorgat, the former ICC chief executive, will be assisting the Pakistan Cricket Board in setting up the proposed Twenty20 league, contributing at a strategic level to ensure the board is headed in the right direction.
Lorgat, who was headed to Sri Lanka, stopped over at Lahore after the PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf invited him for his expert opinions on launching the league in March next year.
"It's not a long time from now to then but there is still a lot of planning and work has been done and a lot to be done but I can see that there is a lot of energy to get this league off the ground," Lorgat said at the PCB headquarters. "Cricket is a growing game and Twenty20 cricket seems to have taken roots and I am pleased to see the progress the PCB has made in that respect."
He served as the ICC chief executive for four years before stepping down at the end of June. He has been assisting Sri Lanka Cricket as a special advisor to help the board revamp its domestic cricket structure and improve the administration of cricket in the country. The PCB, however, didn't offer him a permanent role.
"At this stage (I am supporting the PCB) at a strategic level, ensuring that the details are being attended to and that the concept (for the league model) is correct," Lorgat said. "With my experience in dealing with sponsors, broadcasters, setting up models, the kind of objective and the financial matters are the level where I am contributing at the moment. It appears like the PCB has already done a lot in linking with the member boards and interactions have been made with the international players as well."
Lorgat sees the proposed premier league as a stepping-stone for the revival of international cricket in the country and said it needed to exploit the shortest format of the game on a commercial scale. International sides have refused to tour Pakistan since the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore in March 2009. Last month, a World XI side played two unofficial T20s against a combined Pakistan XI in Karachi.
"Twenty20 cricket is certainly an attraction, lots of new audiences are coming and a lot of exciting players are coming into it. I can recall a few years back even players didn't consider it as a serious form of the game. So on one front Pakistan should not be left out. They should have a league of the highest professional standard and there are commercial opportunities and the PCB is looking to exploit that."
So far, Bangladesh is the only full member board to give Pakistan a positive response in breaking the ice, towards the revival of international cricket. "You do lots of little things to grow in confidence, you will get those interested in coming to Pakistan and the league will go a long way in securing the confidence that cricket can be played in Pakistan.
"It's a good stepping-stone, if international players come in personal capacity to play. Many of them can experience it themselves that cricket can be played at a secured venue and there's no reason why they can't convince the member boards to send their national teams."
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent