PCB finalises Doha for PSL’s inaugural editionArchive
LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced Doha, Qatar, as the venue for the first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), slated to take place from Feb 4 to 24.
Najam Sethi, chairman of the PSL Governing Council and the PCB Executive Committee, made this announcement at a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday.
“The wait is now over and we are here to tell you of our intent to stage the PSL. The way we see it, PSL is not just about cricket. It is a unique blend of entertainment and cricket which will be the most exciting Pakistani product,” said Sethi.
After extensive negotiations with various stakeholders, the PSL Governing Council has decided to lock Doha as its preferred location for the tournament.
The five-team tournament will take place in February next year with 24 matches scheduled to take place in the first edition.
“We are starting with five teams in order to build the value of our franchises and we will increase the number of teams in the coming editions,” he said.
Top foreign players from all the Test-playing countries except India had expressed interest in signing up for the PSL, he added.
As of now, the PSL team has consent from over 40 international players, Sethi claimed.
In addition, top foreign coaches are also being roped in for the first edition of the PSL.
The tournament will carry the collective prize money of up to US$1 million.
Sethi also informed the press about the interest of potential commercial stakeholders in the league.
“I can confirm that a number of parties are interested in picking up the franchises and in discussion with us.
“Similarly, great interest has been shown by broadcasters and sponsors,” Sethi claimed.
He further said that in line with the tournament commercial plan, rights for broadcast, sponsorship and franchise ownership would be sold over the next three months.
With the event venue locked, the formal PSL launch would take place in Lahore in the third week of September, he concluded.
The PCB has been struggling to find an off-shore venue for the PSL and the UAE was its first priority. But after the PCB failed to reserve the grounds of the UAE, it switched off to Doha where no proper cricket grounds are available, because the game is not much popular in that gulf state.
However, the PCB banks hope on a good number of South Asian immigrants to Qatar, who will come to the stadium to see the matches.
AFP adds: The idea behind staging the league was to give Pakistani players a chance to compete with and against top foreign players, something which the national players do not get as international cricket has been suspended in the country since 2009.
Pakistan was a no-go area for international teams since terrorists’ attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in March 2009.
This was partially overcome with a short limited-over series against Zimbabwe in May-June this year.
Four West Indians and two players each from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa were amongst the targeted names, Sethi said.
He added that no player from India was on the PSL target list as the Board of Control for Cricket in India does not allow its players to feature in a foreign league.
In line with the tournament commercial plan, rights for broadcast, sponsorship, and franchise ownership will be sold over the next three months. With the event venue locked, the formal PSL launch will take place in Lahore in the third week of September.
To a question, Sethi said he himself and other officials of the PCB has inspected the stadium in Doha where necessary changes are made keeping in view the importance of the event.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015
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