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June 19, 2019

Has PCB started planning for full PSL season on home soil?


Wed, Jun 19, 2019

LONDON: One had expected more from Wasim Khan, the managing director of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

From the start of the World Cup, Wasim was in England apparently on a mission to garner support for Pakistan cricket and PCB’s campaign to permanently revive international cricket in the country.

After spending more than two weeks in England, Wasim headed for home following Pakistan’s embarrassing World Cup defeat against India at Old Trafford on Sunday.

He was back at the Board headquarters in Lahore earlier in the week and gave a detailed report to members of the PCB Board of Governors when they met on Wednesday.

Wasim, the first British-born Muslim to play county cricket, told the BoG members that he has lined up a couple of projects with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

“PCB Managing Director Mr Wasim Khan reported as part of investing in developing and up-skilling officials, a discussion has taken place with an official of the England and Wales Cricket Board to send Pakistan’s first-class umpires to England to officiate in second eleven cricket in 2020,” the PCB said in a media release following the BoG meeting in Lahore.

“In addition, Mr Wasim Khan also updated the BoG that an in principle partnership had been reached with Warwickshire County Cricket Club to send young players and coaches as part of an exchange programme.”

But there was no mention of whether Wasim was able to convince officials and players during his England trip about coming to Pakistan for an entire season of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) next year. The PCB is planning to stage the PSL 4 fully on home soil following instructions from Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Pakistan, who have previously hosted most of the T20 league’s matches in UAE, are confident that they have the infra-structure to stage a complete edition of the PSL in their own backyard.

But the biggest stumbling block in their plans to have a completely Pakistani PSL edition could be the non-availability of foreign stars. It is understood that one of Wasim’s responsibilities is to use his influence in English cricket circles to convince officials and players here that Pakistan is now a safe place to play cricket.

However, during the BoG meeting, there was no mention of PSL or whether a campaign has been started to convince leading players to come here for a full edition of the league next year.

Instead the MD spoke about the grand plans of sending Pakistani umpires to England to officiate in second eleven cricket in 2020.

Wasim later commented via a PCB media release that such steps would “contribute significantly to a stronger Pakistan cricket.”

“It’s the commitment and resolve of this set-up that it will invest in developing its assets and resources. Our recent investment into our pathway cricket and a comprehensive National Cricket Academy Programme 2019-2020 are an illustration of that commitment.

“Now, we are expanding our reach, and utilising our goodwill and contacts with other Boards to provide further foreign exposure to our high-performing match officials and cricketers. The PCB is confident this will contribute significantly to a stronger Pakistan cricket,” he was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the BoG members praised PCB for acquiring the hosting rights of next year’s Asia Cup.

“The BoG congratulated the PCB on earning the hosting rights of the ACC Asia Cup T20 2020 in September next year, and appreciated the PCB’s efforts in engaging with the ICC Members as part of their efforts for the normal resumption of international cricket in Pakistan,” the PCB media release said.

The BoG also approved plans to commercialise Bugti Cricket Stadium in Quetta.

“On the recommendation of the PCB management, which was in line with its strategic objective to strengthen and increase the capability and capacity of its affiliated units, the BoG principally approved the proposal to commercialise the Bugti Cricket Stadium, Quetta. It was agreed that a Working Group be set-up, which will draft and submit detailed proposals to the BoG for its approval,” the PCB said.

Ehsan Mani, PCB’s chairman who chaired the BoG meeting, hoped that the step would prove to be a game-changer for cricket in Quetta region.

“I am grateful to the BoG for their support and the approval of the Bugti Cricket Stadium’s commercialisation with an aspiration of becoming a world-class centre. This will prove to be a game-changer for Quetta and the region as it will generate significant revenues that will be reinvested into cricket to provide bigger and better opportunities for the whole community,” he stated.