A successful Pakistan Premier League is vital for the resuscitation of international cricket in Pakistan. With potential corporate sponsors already making encouraging noises (Team India , one of the biggest brands in South Asia, is reportedly keen on sponsoring one of the teams, to be called the Sialkot Team Indians), it is important that the tournament is planned and executed without a hitch.
Its success simply has to be guaranteed, and preparation is the key. Yes, the IPL has been a grandstanding success and then some, but it isn't perfect. Your premier league can be even better, PCB. Are you listening?
Here's how to do it:
First, sort out the problem with the current pretenders to the title "Pakistan Premier League." In case you didn't know, PCB, it is being used by the Pakistan football league. Yes, apparently such a thing exists. Look, there can only be one premier league in any country where cricket isn't just another species of irritating insect, and that's a Twenty20 cricket league. (We'll forgive the English their innocence in this matter.)
And let this be a lesson to all struggling cricketing nations out there. The first thing that cricket boards and governments that, um, patronise them should be doing is ensuring that all acronyms ending in "PL" are booked and taken. Are you listening, Denmark and Djibouti? You guys might want to get on the phone to Detroit Public Library right away and tell them to back the @#$% off.
Helpful tip: Gently suggest to Pakistan football a viable, equally attractive alternative name. Why not "Serie P?"
Make ambush marketing more interesting. For example, instead of having your corporate lackey commentators calling a six a "DLF Maximum", it can be called a well, it can be called almost anything else under the sun and it will sound better than that.
Helpful tip: Have it hit a little closer to home. Why not call it a "Bundu Khan Behari Boti Kebab"? Danny Morrison, this might be a good time to get started on some elocution lessons.
You're going to need Imran Khan. Make no mistake: he needs to be the weathered, leathery face of the tournament that people can put their faith in. Yes, I know he's a little busy right now, but rope him in by hook or by crook. Okay, maybe not so much by crook. Mostly hook. His integrity will be key when promoting the event, see.
Helpful tip: The best way to tempt him over, in fact, might be by simply telling him he won't be paid at all; that should do the trick. And if he still refuses, simply threaten to approach the papers about how Imran Khan refused to be the spokesman for the PPL for free.
Your choice of redundant music played to death between overs and after every on-field celebration can be better than the IPL's. It can be way better, though that isn't saying much, I know. God only knows how the Deccan Chargers put up with hearing the same verse of the same theme song of theirs (one suspects there is only the verse, nothing else) every five minutes they are on the field, year in year out.
Helpful tip: Having said that, PPL, "Dil, dil Pakistan" isn't going to work here, especially for the Sialkot Team Indians. Good news, though: the amazing Brett Lee-Asha Bhosle collaboration has been looking for a suitable outlet to express its creative bombast for years now.
Which famous international sensation do you rope in for your opening ceremony, PPL? No pink-pants-wearing Salman Khan or eyebrow bindi-sporting Katy Perry for you. You deserve better.
Helpful tip: Two words, one skeletal vision: Angelina Jolie. Oh, you're welcome, PPL.
Now for the tricky part. You're going to need to rope in some international players for your tournament. But don't worry. Kieron Pollard and Chris Gayle, patriots that they are, are always willing to put themselves on the line for the sake of entertaining fans and for their bank accounts.
Helpful tip: Fair is fair - I, for one, think you should have Indian players up for bidding at the PPL auction, only to decide at the last minute not to choose a single one of them. But do consider Sourav Ganguly, because otherwise, well, he might cry. Plus he's so redundant as a player right now that he's practically a zero security risk.
So there you have it, PPL. A starter kit to success. You really can't go wrong here. And as a special treat to further inspire you in your endeavour, I thought I'd leave you with perhaps the most important tip of all, courtesy of the man himself, Lalit Modi: "Don't do it!"