- PCB needs more hard work and modification to make it more successful
- Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana soon to be transformed into Sports City of Pakistan
Interview with Muhammad Talha – an analyst
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your career please:
Muhammad Talha: I am working in Arif Habib Group for last 12 years. Before joining Javedan Corporation Limited, I served in Al-Abbas Group, Ghulam Farooq Group and EY Ford Rhodes, which helped me gain experience in diversified sectors. During my working experience which is spanning for more than 20 years in various diversified capacities including Investment Analyst, CFO, Property Head of Operations, Sales and Customer Care. My current engagement includes Construction, development and operations of Gymkhana Club, Sports facilities, School, Hospital, Grand Mosque and development of amenities.
PAGE: Could you give your perspective on Pakistan Super League (PSL) as a brand?
Muhammad Talha: PSL is much more than a brand. It is an emotion and hope that keeps people motivated. Cricket has a significant influence as people are more devoted to this game than any other game. PSL presents an opportunity to this nation to feel those emotions. Ever since it was launched in 2016, its profit and sponsorship have skyrocketed. PSL franchise grows every year attracting viewers from all over the world with the aim of introducing more teams to make this game more entertaining. The introduction of Multan Sultan from the 4th edition of PSL is a fact that it was sold more than the highest bid of PSL i.e. $5.2 million per year of other existing teams of PSL. Almost five times than the initial price during six years’ time. Moreover, it has attracted famous foreign international players to participate in the event. There is a need to increase more teams in PSL, which will not only increase the revenue of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) but will surely attract foreign and local players who are eager to play in this league. Sialkot, Hyderabad or Faisalabad team would be included in order to strengthen this league.
Moreover PSL has urged organizers to introduce new leagues. Kashmir Premier League (KPL) is one of the example in Pakistan where top of the line players will take part in the event. The Kashmir Premier League which is scheduled to be played between August 6 and August 16 has a total of 6 teams. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Matt Prior, and Monty Panesar are some of the prominent players who will be taking part in the event.
PAGE: How significant is it to develop more local cricket brands in Pakistan?
Muhammad Talha: Developing local cricket brands means hunting raw and natural talent. Most of the cricket brands represent the major cities of Pakistan, which are densely populated. They are capable of bringing more international cricket players, therefore, giving the locals not much of a chance. They have scouts to lure players but cannot give chance to everyone since there are hardly one or two spots are available. The local brands will hunt the local talent since they don’t have the financial capability of bringing international players. At most, they would be able to bring some of the national team players. They will prioritize the youth and will be able to find the gem which the Pakistani national team was unaware of. This will provide more chances to the youngsters as these local cricket brands bring them one step closer to play for the national team; a dream of every passionate teen.
PAGE: Kindly tell us about the players who have achieved celebrity status in the wake of PSL?
Muhammad Talha: Cricket has a soft spot in people’s hearts so the ones who get to play cricket under media coverage gain massive fan following. Their presence is well known and these players on which the nation is relying. The major example is of Shahnawaz Dahani who impressed everyone during the latest PSL edition. Before this, no one even knew him but after his sensational performance, he has won millions of hearts. He has earned the utmost respect for this nation and is considered a celebrity especially in his hometown. Shadab Khan, Hassan Ali, Rumman Raees, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Hasnain, Asif Ali, Haider Ali etc are the ones who were discovered through PSL. The platform of PSL encouraged and allowed them to represent green shirts. Hassan Ali is the most prime example who has now become a first choice for all formats of the game for Pakistan. His all round performance in all three formats of the game has surely make him the first choice for selectors and captain. Last but not least, it would be injustice if we do not talk about Muhammad Rizwan and his performance. His sensational performance during last year and in current edition of PSL also allowed him to cement his place in the Pakistani cricket team.
PAGE: PSL has emerged as a counter brand of IPL. Kindly delineate:
Muhammad Talha: Before PSL, IPL was the face of sub-continent cricket. IPL was started by BCCI in 2008. The idea was floated after the inaugural edition of ICC World Cup T20 in 2007 which has now become a benchmark in today’s cricket. IPL is one of the cricket tournaments which have attracted the attention of many viewers. In the first edition of IPL, many Pakistani players took part for different teams in the tournament. After the launch of PSL, that audience has been redirected to watch their own cricket national team with many foreign players playing.
IPL had an accumulative viewership of more than 400 million but ever since the introduction of PSL those numbers have dropped. The world used to believe that India is the face of sub-continent cricket but PSL has proved it wrong. Pakistan has even better talent suppressing the Indian dominance of providing better players. In order to promote PSL and make it a No. 1 league in International area, PCB has to make a mechanism where franchises can earn a good share. Currently, PCB is taking 50% of share from Profit which I think should be reduced to 30-40 percent. By reducing the share percentage, it will not only benefit Franchises but will also motivate them to invest on local talent so that they would be able to produce young talent. Another thing which PCB must do is that they have to explore new markets for sponsorship or attract new sponsorship from Pakistan.
PAGE: Tell me about any plan of Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana to promote Sporting activities amongst youngsters:
Muhammad Talha: Currently, we are working to transform Naya Nazimabad into a Sports City by developing International standards sports facilities at one place. Fully developed floodlight Cricket and Football Ground, Basket Ball Court has already been operational and Cricket, Football, Basket Ball and Taekwondo academy is also established to facilitate and groom children’s so that they can compete at the highest level. Futsal court/Hockey Ground is also in development stage, which would be operational in 2 months’ time, which I think will be icing on cake. In order to make this dream in to reality, we have also planned full fledge Mini Olympic in the upcoming month at Naya Nazimabad to promote sports culture in Pakistan. We are also planning to arrange Hong Kong Super Sixes like tournament and PSL warm matches at Naya Nazimabad Gymkhana Cricket Ground as the Gymkhana building constitutes of state of the art hotel, which would be helpful to maintain a bio-secure bubble. Additional facilities like top of the line Gym, Swimming Pool, Sauna and other luxurious facilities like Tennis, Table Tennis, Squash, Badminton, Snooker etc. will be available for fitness and to boost immunity.