PCB revives PSL plan for 2016
The Pakistan Cricket Board has once again revived the plan of its franchise-based Twenty20 league, announcing the first season to take place in the UAE next year. The proposed league - named Pakistan Super League - had been repeatedly postponed and shelved in the last two years for various reasons. In 2013 it was because of logistical problems, and in 2014 it was mainly due to the "paucity of lead time" in the face of issues with the bidding process.
The PCB was planning to hold the league between December 2014 and January 2015, with the UAE as a potential venue for the five-team competition. The board invited parties to acquire the PSL rights, but the quality of the bids meant the PCB decided to put it on hold. There were six companies that showed interest in bidding, but only two - Haier and Aman Foundation - showed the capability to provide a bank guarantee of US $3 million before taking part in the bid process. The board was due to open the bids but decided to delay the process by 10 days, before postponing it indefinitely.
However, after another delay, the PCB decided to go ahead with the plan without outsourcing it to a third party. "PCB has announced that it will launch its own franchise-based T20 league with the first season scheduled to take place in the UAE next year," chairman Shaharyar Khan informed the board of governors in their meeting in Lahore.
The PCB had engaged with an independent consultancy company in April this year regarding the feasibilities and prospects of the league, and decided to go ahead with the plan. "Based on the company's preliminary findings, the board of governors discussed three major questions related to the league," the PCB said in a statement. "It was decided in principle that [the] PCB will organise the league on its own and will not outsource it to any other organisation.
"It was also unanimously decided that the first edition of the league will take place in UAE with an aim of attracting maximum number of foreign players. The board of governors discussed the TOR (Terms of Reference) and decided that the league's lead manager should be a leading professional of international repute."
During Zaka Ashraf's regime, the PSL business model - unveiled in January 2013 - was expected to fetch the PCB "in excess of $100 million". The PCB had also announced the base prices of players for a proposed auction, though it did not reveal the pool of players who had signed up for the tournament. Launching the league has not been a smooth business model for the board so far as no international cricket was played in Pakistan since 2009, until Zimbabwe's tour last month.
Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent. @kalson