PCB to launch Pakistan Premier League next year
KARACHI, September 15: Pakistan Cricket Board on Saturday announced that it will launch its franchised version of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket in October next year.
PCB chairman Naseem Ashraf said the Pakistan Premier League, featuring six teams, would be launched immediately after the ICC Champions Trophy to be hosted in the country.
Ashraf said the Pakistan League would be a franchised part of the Champions League, which was announced by the Indian Cricket Board earlier this week with Australia, South Africa and England as participating partner boards.
Ashraf said the top two teams from the Pakistan Premier League would take part in the Champions League to be launched by 2009.
“Each of the six teams will feature four foreign players, four local players of the region and under-21 players whose services can be obtained for fees. The six teams will also be franchised by corporates,” he said.
Ashraf said the Premier league would be managed by former Pakistani players and the eventual idea was to allow players to benefit monetarily.
He denied the Indians had launched the Champions League concept and its franchised versions to counter a looming threat from the rebel Indian Cricket League launched by the Essel group in India.
“No this concept of the Champions League franchise was in the pipeline by the Indian board for the last one year and was discussed by the participating boards. It will be an official event and it will allow players to play for their countries as well as earn from playing I the Twenty20 leagues,” he added.
Ashraf said the players would be allowed to represent their countries on priority basis as part of their contracts to play in the Premier League.
“It is a good opportunity for retired and present players to earn and also for our young players to play alongside and learn from the stars.”
He made it clear that the Pakistan League would not clash with the Indian Premier League whenever it is launched.
“A lot of details have been discussed in advance and since we have been holding a domestic Twenty20 tournament for last three years we thought we can go ahead with the Premier League as well which will be boosted by the presence of foreign players.”
Ashraf said the Premier League was different from Pakistan’s domestic championship as it would have all franchised teams and contracted players.
“A lot of money and television/advertising revenues would be involved in this project.”
Asked what the Pakistan board planned to do about the four players — Mohammad Yousuf, Inzamam-ul Haq, Imran Farhat and Abdul Razzaq — who had signed up for the rebel ICL, Ashraf said the four can always make themselves available to play for Pakistan.
“The doors are open for them. Infact, we have had discussions with Yousuf and we are hopeful he will come back. The others can also contact us and talk to us if they want to comeback and leave the ICL.”
The Pakistan board has said since the ICC and Indian board didn’t recognise the ICL it would not consider players for selection who join the rebel league.