Discussion in 'Cricket Talk' started by Prince Pathan, Dec 8, 2015.
Watch it here for free.
@Munna I had bought tickets for both the matches tomorrow. My son will also be going with me.
Will the next Shahid Afridi please stand up?
"You know what Lala means?," a young Karachi Kings cricketer asked Englishman James Vince, pointing at his bat sticker in the team's first training session. "Lala is Shahid Afridi. He's a hero of Pakistan." Smiles break all around. Poof! Ice broken...
The plush press conference room at the Dubai International Stadium hosting the trophy launch ceremony of the Pakistan Super League on Wednesday (February 3) was a cultural melting point. A Jamaican rapper, a Qatari business tycoon, a UAE dignitary and members of the international media congregated successfully, subtly underscoring the importance of synergy - something that Pakistan cricket stands to benefit heavily from in its inaugural season of the Pakistan Super League.
After years of being ostracised, the establishment of a global franchise-based T20 tournament appears set to pave the way for Pakistan's next generation of cricketers to share dressing rooms, mingle and exchange ideas with their international counterparts, thereby breaking free from the cultural cocoon they'd wrapped themselves into, early in this decade.
Pakistan may have been significantly late to join the T20 bandwagon but they are not in it without a road map for the future. The presence of Afridi, Misbah-ul-Haq, Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen have generated some interest but the league's authorities remain steadfast that their product is ultimately about creating an assembly line of ready-to-serve-Pakistan cricketers.
"PSL is not about the franchises, it is about what it can do for Pakistan cricket," Afridi says. "The owners, by investing in the league, are not supporting just their respective franchises but are helping nurture the entire Pakistan talent base. This is a big step towards securing the future of Pakistan's cricket by the PCB and full credit to them for pushing this league through."
Off late, new entrants to the Pakistan side have often come with a pre-attached tag - "talented-but-not-quite-ready". This is partly due to their limited exposure to what international cricket has on offer. Top batsmen in Pakistan's domestic circuit find themselves woefully out of depth at the international level. While domestic cricket builds the foundation for a player's overall development, it simply cannot prepare a player for the rigors of the sport and the pressure international cricket brings with it. Inexperience as reason for under-performing has become passe' - an excuse that simply does not hold in the result-focussed modern day cricket - something the current generation of talented players from the region are often found guilty of in big matches.
Amidst the hubbub surrounding the inception of the PSL, its international player acquisitions and the possible financial ramifications, lies an indisputable truth about T20 leagues around the world - its ability to unearth talent. These leagues not just provide the talent pool with a platform but also simulates conditions and situations closest to those that exist in the high-pressure international circuit.
As Wasim Akram puts it, just for its youth focus, the PSL has got to be one of the biggest things to happen in Pakistan cricket. "Nothing of this magnitude has happened before," he opines. "This is the ultimate platform for the youngsters. Leave aside the financial gains, imagine rubbing shoulders against the greats of modern cricket - Afridi, Shoiab Malik, Gayle, Watson, Pietersen - Just observing the way these guys go about their drills, the way they approach pressure situations in a match, will have an enormous impact on Pakistan cricket."
Afridi, when asked for the umpteenth time about the 'next Shahid Afridi', can only chuckle and echo his former captain's thoughts. "That is the point of the PSL. To unearth the next Wasim Akram, the next Waqar Younis or the next Javed Miandad," he says carefully leaving himself out of this elite list. Afridi may have his flaws, every cricketer does, but to a generation of players growing up in the 90s, he was the ultimate symbol of a cricketer taking the field with a devil-may-care attitude. And that put him in the same pedestal as some of the greats of the game. Fringe players in Deccan Chargers, who spent just over months with the mercurial all-rounder in inaugural edition, speak glowingly about his influence in that dressing room.
That is the kind of impact a Mohammad Rizwan stands to gain from a Gayle in the Lahore dressing room. Babar Azam has an opportunity to pick the brains of, and maybe even offer suggestions to an Australian T20I captain. That, for the upcoming cricketers, is worth more than any monetary benefit they will get through the league.
From a scheduling point of view, barring an unwanted clash with the Masters Champions League, the timing of the tournament is perfect. A strong showing in the PSL could players call-ups to the forthcoming Asia Cup squad, or better still the ICC World T20. Four of the five team Captains - Misbah, Malik, Afridi and Azhar Ali - are now on the other side of 30. Each captain remains a vital cog in the national setup in various formats. But when time comes, they will need replacing - with younger, equally adept cricketers to ensure development continuity.
"I look at it this way. This league is Pakistan's izzat (pride). It needs to be nurtured and taken care of. Talent will be unearthed. Boys will get international-level exposure and anyone who graduates to the national side then will be well equipped to bring laurels to the country," Afridi, the captain of Peshawar Zalmi says. It is no coincidence that 'Zalmi' is Pashto for 'youth'.
Only time will tell if the PSL will go on to replicate the success of other popular T20 leagues. For now, however, the young Pakistan players have been a given a platform they've been yearning for years now.
Will the next Shahid Afridi now please stand up?
A lot of Pathans In Dubai
Expect Peshawar to have vociferous support and of course all ppl will b supporting shahid
What's the most official way to watch in the US?
Don't want a free stream for this.
Who is Ahmed shezad playing for?
All the captains and team owners turning up in hummer limos.
No, Willow Tv is not showing it.
When is the game starting lol
Pretty awesome that we have our own league guys. Pretty awesome.
Yes, getting annoyed reading threads critiquing the pitch
People prefer tullaybaazi and not tactical cricket. This shows you, ISB picked the wrong players, completely misread the pitch, Quetta were intelligent and did not let conditions get to them
Feel bad for Shehzad. How will he match Luke Wright at the other end who is in top form. Hopefully he gains some confidence
'Firsts' in the opening edition of PSL
DUBAI (Dunya News) - The first edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicked off in Dubai today (Thursday) with a colourful opening ceremony.
First Match: The first match of the PSL was played between Quetta Gladiators amd Islamabad United.
First Toss: Quetta Gladiators’ captain Sarfaraz Ahmad won the toss in the first match of the PSL and put Islamabad United to bat first.
First Delivery: The first delivery in the inaugural PSL was bowled by pace bowler Anwar Ali and Shane Watson played the first ball.
First Maiden Over: Anwar Ali of the Quetta Gladiators bowled the first maiden over of the Pakistan Super League.
First Run: Sharjeel Khan scored the first run in the opening PSL.
First Four: The first four in the PSL was scored by Shane Watson when he dispatched Anwar Ali to the midwicket boundary.
First Six: First six the Pakistan Super League was hit by Sharjeel Khan.
First Drop Catch: Mohammad Nabi of Quetta Gladiators dropped the first catch in the PSL.
First Wicket: Zulfiqar Babar claimed the first wicket in the PSL when he got the wicket of Sharjeel Khan.
First Catch: Mohammad Nabi took the first catch of the tournament when he caught Sharjeel Khan off the bowling of Zulfiqar Babar.
First Duck: Umar Amin of Islamabad United was the first batsman who was dismissed on a duck.
First LBW: Kevin Pietersen became the first victim of the LBW decision in the PSL.
First Fifty: Luke Wright of Quetta Gladiators scored the first fifty in the inaugural PSL.
First Victory: Quetta Gladiators registered the first victory in the PSL when they beat Islamabad United by 8 wickets.
First Man-of-the-Match: Mohammad Nawaz of Quetta Gladiators was declared Man-of-the-Match in the opening match of the PSL.
Sixes not necessary: Pakistan Super League, so far, a T20 league that feels like cricket
Here is a question difficult to ignore after the first three days of the Pakistan Super League(PSL): how much of the success of a Twenty20 league is dependent on the boundaries and sixes its batsmen hit?
We are led to believe of course that it is directly related – the more that are hit, the better the league is. That is, we are told and sold, the essence of the format. Fans, we assume, only enjoy fours and sixes.
The boundary counter, somewhere on your TV screen, has become an important visual, a de facto USP of most leagues, ticking along as ceaselessly as the modern athletes’ air miles account.
The game gives in. Bats become more powerful. Boundary ropes start creeping in. Sponsors’ cravings, to be heard every time one is hit, want more, so that their names are heard more often on air.
Four matches into the PSL, however, the boundary counter is pottering along, a friendly Sunday promenade of boundaries rather than the mad rush into oblivion of other leagues.
It is a small sample size, but 84 fours and 33 sixes represents a sedate haul. There has been no hundred. No team has totalled even 150, a score at the lowest end of most team’s ambitions over 20 overs (the highest till halfway through yesterday was Karachi Kings’ 147 for seven).
There has been no rat-a-tat-tat burst of boundary-hitting yet, no audacious feat of batsmanship that leaves both senses and statistics scrambled.
Sharjah, where some in the Masters Champions League (MCL) are currently producing batting feats the format is more used to, is likely to change matters when the PSL moves there this week.
There, the pitch has regained that old, familiar glassy sheen. In Dubai though, the surface has been slow, more favourable to spin, not stroke-making. The ball has gripped and not come on to the bat. Fast bowlers have located productive lengths on it.
The boundaries have also been deliberately left bigger than what you may find around the world. The straight boundaries from either end are at least 80m; the longest is 83m at deep midwicket from the commentary end.
And you know what? It has been, from a cricketing point of view, no less compelling for it.
None of the matches have been especially close as contests but because bowlers have been in the game, they have contained what is the basic requirement of all sporting contests: the idea of equality.
Take Friday night’s game between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United. Peshawar won comfortably enough but realising that the pace of Wahab Riaz and Shaun Tait was a strength and not liability was a reawakening to the forgotten possibilities of the format.
Watching left-arm spinners construct classic left-arm spinner dismissals has brought the exhilarating rush to the head of emancipation. Batsmen have had to work out how to build totals and find boundaries, knowing that mis-hits will result in dismissals not boundaries. They have had to run hard.
Consequently, it has felt like cricket and not, as Twenty20 can often feel, like a gross distortion of the game.
It has been really tough cricket so far for a league. Bowlers are dominating and sides batting second have had a clear advantage on most occasions.
It has been different from other leagues as far as scores are concerned so it will receive some criticism.
However, having that said, its still good to see value for good batsmanship and our youngsters certainly need to face as many difficulties at domestic level as possible so that they're matured enough when facing international sides.
first impressions after watching a bit of the game last night, and a bit of the game today
pros: good sized boundaries, decent reward for good bowling, pakistans reserve bowling standards are decent, hacky batsmen not scoring tonnes of lucky runs
cons: no crowd or atmosphere, playing on one ground / pitch makes the cricket monotonous, pakistans reserve batting standards are appaling, the "celebrity" involvement looks contrived
need to bring out the cheer leaders to entice the crowd, clearly the cricket aint gonna do that
Pakistan league sees players bond well
Dubai: It may still be early days in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), but it has already become a common bonding ground among the cricketers.
Though some of the Pakistan players are not so fluent in English, it seems that language is no barrier when it comes to cricket,
When the legendary Viv Richards, mentor of Quetta Gladiators explains his style of batting, the players are able to comprehend everything he says and listen with rapt attention - even to his tales from past. The result of all these is that the under-rated Quetta are playing like champions now.
Pakistan’s domestic cricketers, who haven’t got a chance to see players like Chris Gayle, Shane Watson or Kevin Pietersen live in action in their country, can be seen asking questions often. “Richards is such a great player but he has given us the feeling he knows us all for years,” said Sarfraz Ahmad, skipper of the Quetta team. All top international stars are mixing freely, joking and dining with each other.
The organisers of the tournament have put all teams in the same hotel at Conrad on Shaikh Zayed Road and hence all players are able to mix freely, be it over lunch, dinner or breakfast on match days and off-days. Pakistanis, known for their love of food, have been busy helping star players understand the taste of various sub-continent dishes.
Mushtaq Ahmad, the assistant coach of the Karachi Kings, wants his team to play like a family and makes sure they eat together. Very often, his hotel room is where all his team players assemble to eat.
Pakistan players, who love kebabs, are making sure they are getting the best selection in town. Food is even being ordered from Barbecue Delights, a popular hangout for Pakistan players whenever they play any international series here.
The local Pakistan fans are falling over each other to felicitate every team. On Monday, (today) Taste of Fame in Sunset Mall on Jumeirah Beach Road has invited the whole Islamabad United team for a ‘Dine with the cricket stars’ night. Led by Misbah-ul Haq, the team has Wasim Akram as mentor, Dean Jones as coach and players like Shane Watson and Andre Russell.
Following Quetta’s first victory, the players went on a cruise at Dubai Marina. Many players have come with their families and hence children of cricketers too enjoyed the experience. Almost all team managements are doing everything to make the players comfortable as well as entertain them.
Speaking about the cruise experience, Pakistan pacer Umar Gul said: “The understanding between our players, may it be foreigners, domestic or Pakistan’s international players, is fantastic and this night-out at the Dubai Marina would only improve it further. Players need these sorts of activities to keep them fresh on tours and I think it’s a very good decision by the management and owner Nadeem Omar that they brought us here.”
Nadeem said: “So far, from what I’ve seen, each and every individual is so keen to do well for Gladiators not only in the match but the hunger could be seen in practice sessions as well. Hopefully, the youngsters will learn from the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and others.”
PSL a launching pad for Pakistani youngsters: Andy Flower
DUBAI: Former Zimbabwe captain and ex England coach Andy Flower Sunday says the Pakistan Twenty20 league can benefit the country's budding players in the same way Indians have benefited from their league.
The 47-year-old, who is now looking after England's youth side and is serving as Peshawar team coach in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), said: “I think this tournament will be very good for Pakistan's youngsters in the way the IPL (Indian Premier League) is being very good for Indian cricket.
“I think there are five excellent sides and we should have brilliant cricket over the next couple of weeks and we have seen skilful performance and there is a lot of talent.”
The PSL have 69 local and 29 foreign players, with high profile names in West Indian Chris Gayle and Darren Sammy, former England batsman Kevin Pieteresen and Australia's Shane Watson.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) aims to boost the national team — currently eighth in one-day and seventh in Twenty20 rankings — and to groom some young players.
“I think it's an interesting initiative by PCB and its important for Pakistan cricket and that it is a success. It has started successfully,” said Flower, who played 63 Tests and 213 one-day for Zimbabwe during an illustrious career.
“The PSL is absolutely a launching pad for Pakistan youngsters, some of the benefits they get by mixing with overseas players and gain from their experience and they also get confidence by sharing the same nets and dressing room,” said Flower.
He singled out Peshawar's left-arm spinner Mohammad Asgher as a player for the future.
“The very good example is Asgher and his performance will do him a world of good,” said Flower of the spinner who has taken five wickets for just 31 runs in eight overs in his team's two wins.
“The other factor is that the league might take away some of the myths of some of the international cricketers and allow the youngsters to understand that they are also human beings like them who are good at playing cricket and that can grow their confidence,” said Flower.
The ongoing PSL ends on February 23.
Cricket lovers demand Urdu commentary during PSL matches
KARACHI: Cricket lovers across the country are disappointed by the fact that there is no Urdu commentary during broadcast of Pakistan Super League matches.
More than 90 percent of Pakistan’s population does not understand English and so is unable to enjoy commentary, which adds to the amusement of viewers, a survey conducted by ‘The News’ revealed.
It may be recalled here that the Supreme Court has ordered the government to make Urdu the official language.
Pakistan is a cricket-crazy country and all lovers of the game desperately wanted to see international matches here and were waiting for Pakistan’s first professional cricket league, but they are frustrated because of the English commentary which they are unable to grasp.
Former Test and ODI cricketer Jalaluddin said that people were waiting keenly for PSL and it would be better if arrangements were made for Urdu commentary.
He said the PCB’s good work would spread from one part of the country to the other through commentary in Urdu.
Former first-class cricketer Bharat Kumar said that people were jubilant over the country’s first professional league, but it would have been more enjoyable had there been Urdu commentary.
Bharat said there was still time for PCB as a number of interesting matches were yet to be played. “They should take notice and issued directives for Urdu commentary. It would delight the common citizens,” he said.
Mohibullah, a shop owner in Nazimabad, said that he could not understand the match situation sometimes because of the absence of commentary in Urdu.
He said that Indian channels arranged commentary both in English and Hindi, due to which the engagement of common citizens was higher in their professional league.
Another young man Muhammad Imran said that Urdu commentary must be part of PSL matches because it would attract all citizens. “From the beginning of the matches to the prize distribution ceremony everything is explained but in English which puts tens of millions of Pakistanis at a disadvantage,” Imran said.
A group of government school students in Landhi and Malir appealed to the PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan to issue orders for doing Urdu commentary in the remaining matches so that each and every Pakistani might enjoy each and every moment of the league.
Six teams to feature in PSL next year: Shaharyar
LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Shaharyar Khan announced that six teams would play in the second edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) next year.
“Six franchises will compete in the second edition as the league is going to be very beneficial for cricket in Pakistan,” Khan told media persons in Lahore.
“We have made good arrangements for the PSL after a lot of hard work,” he said.
Khan said that young players were playing with the international cricket star in the league.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our young talent to share dressing room with top players and learn from them,” he said.
The five-team PSL comprising Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United is under way in Dubai.
Several international stars including Kevin Pietersen, Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Darren Sammy and others are playing in the league. – SAMAA
Yeah they are watching the matches anyway, if there are internationals watching the league they wont purely because of the urdu commentary. Would kill the league
You can have separate Urdu commentary for Pakistan...they do it with Hindi and india (ARY Digital, waaaaay back when they used to show cricket, bought UK rights to indian cricket for a while...only, the rights were for the Hindi commentary version. So youd hear 'oomda shat, che-runnnnnnnnnnnnn')
Unique entertainment of a ‘run down’ PSL
Both Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches on Sunday hung in the balance literally till the very last over, and the two cliff-hangers provided perfect demonstrations of the merits of low-scoring ties.
Long gone is the delicate balance between bat and ball that once made cricket, cricket. Now the batsmen reign supreme and the 20-over game has been one of the biggest perpetrators of this shift in power.
But the PSL has brought about a welcome change and, at the risk of speaking too soon, bowlers once again seem to have found some semblance of help from the conditions.
In the first match on Sunday, Islamabad United managed to defend 132 against Karachi Kings. With four needed off the last ball, Shane Watson’s perfect yorker to win the game was right up there with any last-ball match-winning boundary.
Peshawar Zalmi were not that lucky in the second match, as table-topping Quetta Gladiators managed to chase down their 136-run target. But not before the teams played out yet another nail-biter and it required some hefty hitting from Anwar Ali and Elton Chigumbura to take Quetta over the line.
The matches kept all those watching at the edge of their seats for the entirety of the contests and, barring the most die-hard of Karachi and Peshawar fans, was money and time well spent.
It is still early days for PSL, but Lahore’s Umar Akmal-inspired 193 on Monday was the only time that a team ran away with the game in the first innings. The Lahore-Quetta match was the first time in eight matches that the aggregate score crossed 300.
For comparison, the 2015 Indian Premier League — the definitive yardstick against which all T20 leagues are measured — had 35 matches out of a total of 60 in which more than 300 runs were scored by both teams combined.
What this means is that the PSL is decidedly lacking in the kind of run-frenzies that tend to excite many casual fans. No lusty blow after lusty blow, no batsman dominating the bowling, no scores of 200, and none of the glamour and glitz that comes with all of that.
But the PSL is no IPL — its creators have gone out of the way to stress upon that fact from day one. Low-scoring matches aren’t hindering the league as some may imagine. In fact, quite the contrary.
Nail-biters like the one served up on Sunday are ample proof that entertainment in cricket does not exclusively lie in sixes and fours. The PSL can be for the legions who do not lust for runs alone, for those who still heave nostalgic sighs when the names of men such as Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis are uttered in hushed whispers.
Quetta’s meek surrendering of the match against Lahore made for poor viewing — one-sided matches are often a hazard for games in which the side batting first scores big.
In cricketing terms, opting for pitches that help the bowlers may also prove to be a successful strategy. Pakistan’s batting has always been their weakness, and by raising the next generation on bowling-friendly pitches, the country may well produce batsmen that know how to negotiate the moving ball; whether it be seam, swing or turn.
But it is not without its pitfalls either. Young bowlers such as Usama Mir, Ziaul Haq and Mohammad Nawaz — all of whom have impressed so far in the PSL and are being touted as potential mainstays in Pakistan’s bowling attack of the future — have little experience dealing with batsmen wreaking havoc.
They don’t know what it’s like to bowl to the best in the world on flat pitches and small grounds. They don’t know what it’s like to be at the wrong end of a Chris Gayle or Shahid Afridi demolition. They don’t know what it’s like to see your bowling figures get destroyed in the blink of an eye.
To cope with all that, they need nerves of steel, hearts as big as bats these days and the best of all teachers — experience. But they are getting precious little of that last one here, where swing, bounce and turn are available for all who know how to seek them.
Young batsmen too, like Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, need to learn the art of chasing scores close to or in excess of 200; the runs still need to be made no matter how dead the pitches may be. And here, with targets almost never crossing 150, they haven’t been put under the pressure of being expected to hit from ball one.
It is unclear whether the pitches and conditions that have yielded such low scores are a result of design or circumstance, but if matches in the PSL continue to be this closely fought, then few would be complaining by the end of it.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2016.
Very exciting league, so unpredictable.
We have a league of our own and instead of criticizing it should support it, these guys are out there showing the world we are good hospitable people, bar Gul, Anwar, Sarfaraz and Wahab acting like Paindoos in front of the foreign players who are essentially your guests.
Pakistanis have talent for moaning.
It's their good luck that they are not able to understand Raja and Bazid's commentary.
Besides, if spectators want urdu commentary, then it's PTV's prerogative to hire an urdu panel and play it over the English one.
If 90% of Pakistan doesn't speak English then 90% of Pakistan also speaks a different language than Urdu.
Tbh urdu commentary is cringeworthy esp when Mirza Iqbal Baig is on. Don't think anyone likes to hear about bio-data of every single person on field and whether the person was born on a manjee or gadda.
Sammy feels for cricket-starved Pakistan fans
DUBAI: West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy on Monday said he felt sad for Pakistan cricket fans who are deprived of watching international stars on home grounds due to security fears in the country.
He said it was up to the West Indies Cricket Board to decide where the series will be played but he certainly feels sad for Pakistan fans.
“Well, to be honest, these decisions are never ours it’s the government and the cricket body to decide but what I could tell you is that the fans of Pakistan cricket have been missing some good international cricket.
“We as cricketers get to play in front of our home fans and that is something Pakistan have not had an opportunity to do, to play in front of their own people for a while,” said Sammy who is playing Pakistan Super League here.
“It’s sad but hopefully things could get resolved and every territory could get a chance of playing cricket before their own crowds,” said Sammy who is playing alongside Pakistan Twenty20 captain Shahid Afridi for Peshawar franchise.
Asked whether any Pakistan player has invited him to their country, Sammy said: “We don’t really talk about it, they have been on the road for a long time with Dubai is home base for them.
“I think every cricketer wants to play at home but its not our decision, it’s the administration that decides that so I dont know.”
Sammy said he was enjoying the company of Pakistan cricketers.
“I just enjoy cricket on the whole, to share the dressing room with Afridi, (Wahab) Riaz and (Kamran) Akmal its a pleasure and playing is an honour.”
Debunking myths surrounding PSL
KARACHI: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is already eight matches old but still continues to remain somewhat of a misunderstood commodity among many in the country, and in order to fill these gaps in information, a lot of myths have started appearing regarding the league.
We take a look at a few in order to debunk them and set the record straight.
1. Karachi were pre-tournament favourites because they are the most expensive side
While Karachi Kings were indeed the most expensive franchise when they were bought for 10 years by the ARY Group for $26 million, it has nothing to do with them being the strongest side.
In a bid to ensure that all teams are equally matched, the PSL management capped spending on both players and coaches. The teams were only allowed to spend between $900,000 and $1.1 million on the players.
However, even that amount could not be spent as per the teams’ choosing. Each player category already had a specific price and quota attached to it. So for example, each team had to buy one icon player apiece at $200,000 and three platinum players at $140,000 each.
The only decisions the teams were allowed to make were which players they chose and how many players they kept in their squad. With two teams — Karachi and Quetta — opting for 19 players, and the other three opting for 20, the difference in spending is minimal at best.
The $26m amount was to buy the franchise rather than the team — with several non-cricketing factors such as marketability and potential sponsors surely taken into consideration.
Karachi were many people’s pre-tournament favourites due to their management’s canny planning and good player selection, rather than due to their spending prowess.
2. The group stages will be followed by semi-finals
The top four sides will qualify for the next round but they will not face off in a conventional semi-final format where first meets fourth and second plays third.
Instead, an Indian Premier League-style knockout will follow the group stages. The first match after the group stages would be on February 19 between first and second place, the winner of which will qualify for the final on February 23. The loser, however, will not be eliminated.
The match will be followed by a clash between third and fourth place. The loser will be eliminated, while the winner will play the loser of the match between first and second. The winner of that match will take to the field in the final against the winner of the first-versus-second match.
This means that the teams finishing in the top two essentially get two bites at the cherry in their bid to reach the final. It also means that, other than bragging rights, there is no difference between first and second, nor between third and fourth.
3. A lack of attendance means the PSL is struggling
With the tournament taking place in the UAE, the Pakistan Cricket Board was always aware of the fact that stadiums would not be filled like they would have been had the league taken place in Pakistan. However, that would have meant many of the international stars taking part would not have signed up for the league; draining it of its star power.
The PSL management has made it clear from day one that they are focusing on TV viewership over ticket sales. The strategy makes sense — the much higher number of people watching from home mean more sponsors and hence more money.
Attendances are also expected to pick up in Sharjah but even if they don’t, it is TV ratings that would be the making or breaking of the PSL.
With live streaming on YouTube reaching 180 countries, along with a plethora of international channels broadcasting the league across the globe, the PSL is off to a promising start.
4. The PSL is bad for the country as it’s dividing cities
Very few sporting rivalries translate into real world hatred when it comes to important matters. On the contrary, sport has been known to fix many broken political ties.
There is bound to be some harmless banter between the residents of the five cities, especially as fans start to gradually take ownership of their sides, but they seldom spill over from the sporting field into the real world — nor should they.
The PSL provides the country’s people something to cheer about and, with very few entertainment opportunities available, a priceless source of distraction from their everyday lives.
And while the matches may be taking place in the UAE, the league not only helps the cricket board and the players financially but the plethora of sponsors — both local and international — can only be good for the country’s economy not to mention the jobs that it is creating for Pakistanis.
In short, the league is beneficial for all parties involved, and if the only downside of all this is being at the end of some banter when your team loses, then so be it.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2016.
Pakistan cricket desperately needed a tournament like PSL
It is difficult to believe the Pakistan Super League (PSL) started less than a week ago, for the T20 cricket tournament has already grown into a daily viewing addiction. Featuring five teams, including Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, and Quetta Gladiators, the tournament has captured the imagination of people across the country.
During the last week, I have found it remarkable how keenly the games have been followed on the streets of Karachi; taxi and rickshaw walas are keeping up with the contests on the radio; roti walas, while rolling bread in their uncomfortably warm hole-in-the-walls are glancing constantly at their tiny television sets. The same goes for small shop owners and my samosa wala (who burnt my samosas, thank you very much). Remarkably, I learnt the games were officially being broadcast on YouTube, when I saw a young shop boy watching a match as it streamed on his smartphone.
Not surprisingly, there has been a small but vocal backlash to the tournament on social media. Not surprising, because our cynics seem to creep out of the woodwork, as if by instinct whenever any form of entertainment gains traction in the country. The number one complaint, of course, is that the PSL isn’t taking place in Pakistan and is therefore useless.
Well, of course PSL isn’t taking place in Pakistan. Not after the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team. Not after Zimbabwe braved a tour to Pakistan in 2015, and two people lost their lives outside of Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore when a suicide bomber attacked.
If these same cynics can’t guarantee safety to their overseas relatives who wish to visit Pakistan, then how can we, in good conscience, ask the likes of Kumara Sangakkara,Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Luke Wright, and Chris Gayle to make the high profile journey? Without such international superstars, the tournament is simply another domestic T20 series. So either our keyboard warriors should propose an alternative system, or come to terms with reality.
As things stand, the PSL has been superbly organised. Not only does the tournament feature well-known names powerful enough to sell tickets on their own, but excellent production values. My only criticism is that the teams are far too random. It is strange to see so many players not representing their towns. While some of this is to be expected, especially considering how certain cities lack star power, surely a balance could have been achieved to encourage friendly city rivalry.
Thankfully, the cricket has been very good. The games, though low-scoring, have been entertaining and evenly contested. What has been a concern though is the lack of powerful batting performances from Pakistani cricketers. Until last night, some of the best scores in the tournament have come courtesy of mostly international superstars such as Luke Wright, Lendl Simmons, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Shane Watson, and Darren Sammy.
This is a sharp contrast from T20 tournaments such as the Australian Big Bash and theIndian Premier League (IPL) where the average scores are much higher and home-grown batsmen contribute more frequently with fast paced innings.
Again, it isn’t so surprising if one considers Pakistan’s dismal performances in both limited over formats during the last few years.
In T20s and ODIs, our batsmen have been outshined by their counterparts from Bangladesh to Australia, who have proven that the current crop of Pakistani batsmen lack the consistent hitting firepower required in the modern era. While other teams are casually reaching totals of over 350 in ODIs and 180 in T20s, our batsmen often fail to score more than 250 and 140 respectively. Tellingly, the only format in which Pakistan is still formidable is Test cricket, where massive strike rates don’t hold as much value.
In the 90s, Pakistan boasted power-hitting treasures such as Saeed Anwar, Aamir Sohail,Ijaz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Abdul Razzaq, Moin Khan, Azhar Mahmood, and evenWasim Akram. While other sides also carried a striker or two, no other cricketing team carried such a cluster of boundary hitters in a single playing 11.
These men honed their skills with the willow in international cricket, but rose primarily because of natural talent. No one taught Afridi to blast the world’s fastest hundred when still a teenager and no one coached Mahmood to hammer Allan Donald on his Test match debut.
Unfortunately, in this age of 10 runs-per-over cricket, natural talent isn’t enough. Other teams have not only caught up, but left Pakistan behind coughing in their dust. Today, every country boasts a Shahid Afridi and an Abdul Razzaq; we no longer have a monopoly on the power-hitter commodity.
It has happened through the evolution of T20s. While Pakistan became a leper of international cricket, other cricketers have gained vital experience in tournaments such as the IPL, sharpening their skills by playing with the best, and playing against the best. If anything, we have regressed. With our natural talent on the decline, we have lacked a grooming system to fall back on.
As the PSL has shown, Pakistan continues to boast some of the best bowlers in the world.Newcomers such as Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Asghar, and all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz have all shown their worth. Hopefully, our batsmen will also learn from the experience. When our keyboard warriors ask what the point of PSL is, at the very least, it grants our underexposed talent the chance to rub shoulders with legends such as Vivian Richards and T20 giants like Chris Gayle.
I am sure both Mohammad Rizwan and Sharjeel Khan will take great confidence from their wonderful displays in the 9th match. The former smashed a 27 runs off 50 and the latter shared an extraordinary opening stand with Shane Watson when he scored a 43 runs off 79. These are the sort of experiences that will help them elevate their game. These are the sort of experiences that will help the Pakistanis competing in PSL raise their standards of cricket to international cricket. Welcome to the big league, boys.
Some really awesome games, after a very one-sided start...hope it continues. Like lala said, makes no difference as to who wins...the real winners are cricket (from a spectator POV) and (more importantly)...Pakistan
IPL vs PSL: An open letter from an Indian cricket fan
Dear Pakistani cricket fans,
So now you have your own version of the IPL.
The TV ratings of the Pakistan Super League, we believe, are better than any masala Bollywood movie and the euphoria around it is probably like the time Javed Miandad hit that last ball six.
Even if Rameez Raja takes the time to remember that it is the Karachi Kings and not the Kings IX Punjab, we can see it’s going to be a different ball game altogether.
The cricketers, of course, are singing ‘scent of a money’, and here we are wondering when haven’t they? This is your debut season and like a new gadget, you will only figure out its battery life much later.
We, on the other hand, are veterans of it, entering our 9th year.
Shahrukh Khan’s cartwheels in the stadium ground have lost their novelty just as Priety Zinta’s spirited flag waving can’t hide the fact that in so many seasons not once has she gotten her team right.
Priyanka Chopra has long left the building, or rather the stadium and this year, even Anushka Sharma isn’t going to be in the stands cheering on Virat Kohli.
Then, of course, there are the cheerleaders. Don’t expect the Super Bowl, anything else is avoidable. Even our cameramen are bored of the same old routine, as are the over-zealous eyes of the culture brigade that thrives in the subcontinent.
Some of our cheerleaders have even danced wearingsaris but there was nothing worth cheering, so don’t ask for something you won’t like.
Think! Cheerleaders cheering in shalwar kameez, it’s a bit like being hit wicket. But, there is a reason they have been banned from the IPL parties. Trust us, you’re just avoiding the sleaze.
You go straight from the PSL to the T20 World Cup next month. We did the same in 2009, exhausted and with injuries to some key players.
It didn’t take us long to exit the tournament and the usually calm Gary Kirsten our coach those days, fairly put the blame on IPL.
PSL is not as long a tournament and hopefully, you can manage the pulls and the tears, if there are any. Just a note of caution, players are very good at keeping their injuries under wraps: Moneytalks.
It’s not a myth — the concept of too much cricket does exist
Our IPL calendar takes away the crucial rest period before the start of a new season. Hopefully, your board has managed it better.
But soon, you will realise when the stakes are so high it stops being a gentleman’s game. There will be players who will be content just playing this annually.
Test cricket, the hallmark of a good player is a dying breed. For us, the writing on the ‘wall’ is clear. Ravindra Jadeja or Rohit Sharma, our regulars in the T-20 format will never be mentioned in the same breath as Rahul Dravid.
It would also be wise to leave technique at home when you watch these matches, the cricketers in any case do. Neither will the player of the tournament necessarily go on to be the next Afridi. How many of you have heard of Akshar Patel or Sanju Samson?
Hopefully, the PSL can divert some of the profits into the domestic league because frankly, a complete player will never emerge from hit and miss tournaments.
Match fixing still haunts you as much as it does us
Now with the bar raised bookies will be crawling around waiting for their catch, and they will find a way.
Those with an especially humble background are all the more vulnerable. This year Nathu Singh, the son of a factory worker has been bought by one of the IPL franchise Mumbai Indians for Rs3.2 crores. There are some more like him who have never dreamt of this kind of money. Only time will tell if their serious dedication can overcome all the distractions the not-very-serious form of cricket brings.
Two of our teams, including the very successful Chennai Superkings led by MS Dhoni have been suspended for two years.
Ideally, they should have been permanently banned but there is a reason some call IPL the Indian Punters league. There is still a sealed envelope with names of more than 10 players implicated in IPL spot-fixing.
Your list over the years is equally long. For now, Mohammad Amir is back but every time he gives two no-balls in a row, will your mind not wander?
So, keep in mind this is not really sport and it doesn’t really take that long for the sheen to wear off and the dirt to kick in. Such tournaments make money, rarely careers.
We can say that because we’ve been burnt by the IPL.
An Indian cricket fan (run out by the IPL)
P.S. Don’t forget to watch a few test matches; it’s not just for the player but also a test of who the true fan is.
Halaal league FTW!
Add Ehsan Adil and Zafar Gohar to paindoo list
PSL anti-corruption head warns of life ban to any team owner, player, or management found guilty
Karachi: The head of Pakistan Super League‘s (PSL) anti-corruption and security vigilance unit has warned players, team officials and franchise owners of life ban if found guilty of spot fixing or involvement in any other form of corruption during the tournament. According to Colonel (retd) Azam Khan, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had learnt a lot from the corruption scandals that unfolded in other leagues in recent times. “We learnt a lot from what happened in the IPL and Bangladesh Leagues and there anti-corruption and security models also helped us in finalising our model for the PS. We have put in a strong security, vigilance and anti-corruption plan into place,” Azam said.
“We have made it clear to all franchises that players, officials or franchise owners found guilty of any wrong doing or undesirable activities will face a life ban,” Azam said. “It is a big challenge for us to ensure the PSL is transparent and corruption free. We picked up a lot of things and put them into place from the models of other leagues,” he explained. Azam said their task was to ensure the image of Pakistan cricket didn’t suffer in PSL.
“We also sought advice from the ICC anti-corruption and security unit in preparing our plan. We have issued sims of one cellular company to everyone in the league and we have round the clock security at the hotel where teams are staying,” he added. Azam said that players and officials had also been advised to avoid using social media networks during the course of the league.