Pakistan in the run of cricket laurels and with fame to a great extend, strongly leading in the fast emerging short format of the game across the world and this time holding of 6th consecutive Twenty20 tourney in the country is the testimony of affection, dedication and attention of Pakistan towards the growth of cricket and wealth. Moreover, holding later matches of Pakistan Super League 2019 (5th edition) under the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, which had a devastating spell around the world since end December 2019 and completing series final in November 2020 (originally planned to held in March 22, 2020) and again to put in order PSL-6, 2021 under the coronavirus – still not fully over – shows commitment of top administration of the Pakistan Cricket Board and the Government with security agencies support for making the sports and wheel of economy progress.
The best attainment of this sixth edition of mega event, Pakistan Super League, set to be underway from February 20 to March 22, 2021 that from onward this year PSL will have an exclusive window in the ICC Future Tours Programme. Inclusion of foreign-studded players in this major league also a win for Pakistan, that this league is ranked amongst the top current Twenty20 tournaments running around the world.
Pakistan tackled the issue of terrorism amicably as after the attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009 in Lahore all foreign teams avoiding to visit the country and efforts of Pakistan Cricket Board and government made possible to return cricket back in the country as number of teams, West Indies, Sri Lanka and recently one of the top team of world South Africa visited the country where Pakistan posted a remarkable wins both in Test and T20 series while under the Covid-19 holding of such a mega event like PSL is a true reflection of Pakistan likeness for the game of cricket. Since the Sri Lankans cancelled the tour of Pakistan in 2009 due to armed attack on the team bus in Lahore, top flight cricket events are missing in the country but things are started getting better after the idea to put Pakistan Super League in 2015. There are teams like Afghanistan and Kenya toured Pakistan in 2013 and 2014 respectively but that tour was not appropriate but when Zimbabwe toured the country to play series of T20 and One-day International it was much important news for the country to bring back cricket after six-year hiatus. Later in 2017 holding of memorable Pakistan Super League final in Lahore opened ways for the other countries tour into Pakistan. Moreover holding of World XI tour in Pakistan was huge leap for Pakistan and particularly the support from International Cricket Council who played a key role in awarding the World XI series three matches to be played in Lahore but it was lot of courage from the Pakistan side to pull it all together to bring back international cricket in the country. It was again in 2017, when we succeeded to bring back Sri Lanka back in the country with playing a last T20I of their away series in Lahore as the early matches of that series was played in the UAE.
Organizing a professional domestic Twenty20 league for the country is an outstanding endeavor as PSL founded in 2015 which successfully staged in 2016 in UAE. Involving foreign players the terrorism alarm hinder early editions of the tournament to hold in Pakistan and the authority hold the initial editions of PSL in UAE but now this is the second time that country is successfully capable to hold the tournament in the country but PSL 6 edition is more challenging to hold under the coronavirus as the pandemic already had affected the schedules of number of sports events around the world and there are many world sport events which are either delayed or cancelled. Bringing cricket back in the country, majorly the foreign teams visit and players is a breathtaking image building of Pakistan cricket.
Pakistan Super League is a professional Twenty20 cricket league and franchise based and every year contested during February and March, with representation of six teams naming country’s six cities. The league first introduced with five teams and this is the second occasion that six teams are participating in the contest while there are talks to expand the teams in the next coming league or so. The league is a single entity in which each franchise is owned and controlled by investors. The format of the tournament following ICC rules and regulations is Double-round robin and playoffs. The league uses a draft system for recruitment which are classified as Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver and Emerging with each owner has option to trade player from other teams. The categorized salaries were as follows, Platinum $130,000-$170,000; Diamond:$60,000-$85,000; Gold:$40,000-$50,000; Silver: $15,000-$25,000; Emerging:$7,500, while Supplementary:$50,000.
Since the title sponsor of the tournament is Habib Bank Limited this tournament is vital for state economy and hoping to land a great success for Pakistan under the pandemic fallout, the commercial rights to the initial franchises were sold for $93 million for a span of 10 years, and according to reports the market value of PSL in 2017 was up to $300 million, however the market value likely to grow up in the 6th edition of PSL. There are number of ways of return from dealings to the national exchequer through commercials both in print and electronic media and business through digital viewership of the league around the world, ticket sales and means of business like broadcasting and live airing of the matches will all give benefits to country’s economy. According to available report, for PSL-2021 PCB announced that $1 million will be offered in prize money to PSL teams where winners will take home $650,000 followed by $250,000 for runners-up. Third place team to pocket $150,000. Rest $100,000 will be used for individual cash prices throughout the 2021 PSL season.
Number of teams representing this league includes Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans. So the stage is set for great cricket excitement and fanfare and as only 20 percent crowed of total capacity of stadium are allowed fans and staff members have been directed to strictly follow SOPs of Covid-19. We pray for the fruitful success of this tournament and more to follow for the smooth run of both Pakistan’s image and wealth.