Cricket's Newest Tournament: The Pakistan Premier League
Following the immensely successful Indian Premier League and the lesser-known Sri Lanka Premier League, Pakistan's Cricket Board has decided to throw its hat into the ring as the latest international team to organize a Twenty20 league of their own.
Aiming for a goal of March 2013, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, Zaka Ashraf, has said the league will be different from the others in that it will have only five teams with six international players each and stated the board is "preparing a budget of millions for this."
Furthermore, several sources have indicated that "a request has already been made to the chief patron of the board, President Asif Ali Zardari to allow a five-year tax exemption" for the event since the event will undoubtedly bump up job growth and enhance Pakistan's international image.
Ashram went on to mention eventual goals that the league has, commenting, "I can say that we have taken inspiration from the IPL. Maybe, one day the PPL franchise can be part of the IPL as well."
However, the coordination for such an undertaking will not be simple since Pakistan's cricket team will be facing South Africa in three Tests, five one-day internationals and two T20s between February 1 and March 24. Moreover, the more famous and lucrative Indian Premier League kicks off within the first week of April, which leaves the PPL only a sliver of room to make the tournament happen in between these two schedules.
The other cloud looming over the venture is the fact that no international players have competed in Pakistan since the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team in March 2009 which left several injured, including superstars Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
Ashraf hopes that the international public perception will change favorably since two exhibition matches in the major city of Karachi were played last weekend, featuring an International World XI.
To combat any risk, Ashraf has been committed to the highest level of security. He has gone on record saying "we have set up our own anti-vigilance and security divisions and we are also in close contact with the government as far as security arrangements for the tournament is concerned."
As of yet, there have not been any public indicators of any A-list international players ready to sign on to the league, but money talks, and reports claim that the PCB has been throwing a lot of it around and enticing superstars to join.
We are still months away from the event but it will be interesting to see how the situation pans out, given the intrigue of it all.
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