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August 21, 2013
Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq has suggested the idea of having a franchise-based Twenty20 league in Pakistan to groom young talent in the absence of any international cricket.
On his return from West Indies after featuring in the Caribbean Premier League for St Lucia Zouks, Misbah stated that a T20 league would help youngsters as it would give them an opportunity to play with international cricketers. "Though PCB is doing its effort to bring international cricket back [to Pakistan], in my opinion, we also should have our own [T20] league," he told reporters in Lahore. "It is necessary to have it either in Pakistan or in Dubai as it will allow our youngsters to play with international stars.
"Our players are not properly groomed because of no international cricket, and other countries get their young players groomed by having leagues where they get a chance to play with international stars. India is the biggest example where they are holding the league and getting their players well groomed."
Pakistan have been deprived of international cricket since a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009. Since then, Pakistan have mostly been playing their home series in the UAE. Bilateral series for the youth teams, A team and academy level are on hold, which hinders the development of upcoming players.
During Zaka Ashraf's regime, the PCB was desperate to bring international cricket back to the country, but failed to convince any team to tour Pakistan. The board then launched a franchise-based Twenty20 tournament called Pakistan Super League, but it had to be postponed indefinitely due to logistical issues.
Before 2009, Pakistan used to organise reciprocal tours around the world at all levels, apart from national bilateral series, but the practice has been put on hold as junior teams are also reluctant to visit Pakistan due to security issues. Though the board has managed to host international teams outside Pakistan, it has failed to afford a similar series for junior teams due to the lack of sponsors.
Pakistani players featured in the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League but have been ignored since relations between the two countries took a dive in the wake of the Mumbai terrorist attacks in 2008. Pakistan's domestic T20 teams had also been ignored for the Champions League T20 until 2012.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. He tweets hereFeeds: Umar Farooq
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