What the Pakistan Premier League should look like

Published: April 23, 2012

The dream of the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) has finally become a reality as announced by the PCB. PHOTO: AFP

The dream of Pakistan Premier League (PPL) has finally become a reality: the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Zaka Ashraf has declared that this event will be held in October.  Here’s what I think the event should look like.


To be really honest, I would like a unique name for our tournament. Case in point; Spain’s La Liga and Australia’s Big Bash, two unique names which almost every sports fan knows. And frankly there are too many Premier Leagues in our region. Why not something in Urdu?

Total number of teams 

There are speculations that 16 teams will feature in the event, which is a bit too much for my liking. It would mean less competitive matches and dwindling viewership. I think eight is the magic number; fewer teams means a less diluted pool of talented players which can lead to stronger sides and more exciting matches.

With the chances of foreign players showing up being slim, we need to keep the players pool tight to get thrilling matches. In the end, the product has to be appealing to the customer. Easy wins by strong teams over feeble teams would weaken the tournament.

Number of matches

The teams should be divided into two groups of four. Each team plays each other twice in group stages on a ‘home and away’ basis. The top two teams advance into next “Super Four” stage where they also play each other twice on a ‘ home and away’ basis. The best two teams meet in the “three match finals.”

This means a team will play six matches in group stage and six in the Super Four stage.

Team representation areas

This is a no-brainer. Because of economic viability and available infrastructure, teams should represent populous cities with large fan bases. Provinces like Sindh and Balochistan, that do not have many big cities, may use the province name to broaden their appeal.

As the tournament will progress, teams can expand their fan appeal. Fans of Sialkot Stallions and Karachi Dolphins can be found almost everywhere, and this proves two things.

  1. One should have a star studded line-up
  2. Winning tournaments wins you fans

Team names

One of the most crucial aspect of creating a fan base is to have an appealing team name. Although I liked the names of the teams who played the Faysal Bank T20, I think it does create an element of monotony that all teams are named after animals.

Teams should be creative and think out of the box when it comes to choosing a name; something that cricket fanatics can relate to.

Lahore Badshahs somehow stuck the right chord with Pakistani fans, maybe it was the presence of some great Pakistani cricketers or maybe because the name was so desi.

I think we need to ditch the conventions and go crazy when it comes to choosing team names. Why not have a Sher-e-Punjab XI – a dedication to centuries old most coveted wrestling title of Punjab.

The business side of things

It’s astonishing how Indian Premier League (IPL) has contributed to the Indian economy. Businesses like sports, manufacturing and tourism are benefiters of a successful event. Pakistan may not have big names like Mallyas or Ambanis but different companies could come together to form consortiums to own a team, or we could go the FC Barcelona way.

1. Corporate ownership

For the sake of business, I say emulate the IPL business model.  PCB could invite bids from different corporations for owning a franchise and successful bids can be paid to the PCB by the corporations on a five to 10 year instalment basis. The PCB will also keep the central broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals.

Team owners could keep the money from ticket sales, sponsorship deals and official merchandise along with a share in central broadcasting rights and central sponsorship. Both the teams and the PCB will work together for the maintenance and development of stadiums.

2. Public ownership

Following the approach of leading Spanish football clubs and handing ownership to the fans would be a good idea. Barcelona and Real Madrid are co-operatively owned by 175,000 members where membership is sold to the general public. People get concessional tickets and merchandise and most importantly, the power to vote on matters of the club.

Instead of having just an emotional attachment to the club, this could provide an opportunity for fans to have a real sense of belonging and take part in the decision making process too. Every fan will enjoy deciding who should be the president of the club.


Players should be open to independent contracting instead of being auctioned with salary caps for teams to keep it fair (e.g. teams should be allowed a fix amount of total budget to hire players). It would be up to the players and the teams to decide the terms of contract and payments. However, in order to stop exploitation of players, the PCB should enforce a minimum amount payable by the teams to the players.


Pakistan will have to improve its infrastructure, provide better facilities at grounds and improve ticketing etc. During a recent trip to the Pindi Stadium for Faysal Bank T20 matches, I was not impressed with the event management. The cricket was enjoyable, no doubt, but the whole package needs upgrading. We can introduce e-ticketing and hire event management companies to manage all off field activities.

Achieving all of the above is not impossible; we have proven time and time again that we are a nation capable of accomplishing remarkable feats. We just have to believe in ourselves and keep working to make these dreams come true.

Follow Omair on Twitter @MalikMachine



Ali Khan

Ali Khan

Ali has a bachelor's degree in Business development.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • cricketlover

    i really hope to see PPL in october….we can have a good tournament even without foreign players…Pakistani players are very talented…Recommend

  • Bilal

    Looking forward to it. If foreign players come it would be good but we can do without them as well. Recommend

  • Muhammad Afzal

    I suggest the name 2PL for Pakistan league.Recommend

  • http://www.seowebdesignonline.com Akbar M. Khan

    Karachi “Karachi Terror”, Lahore “Lahoriye”, Islamabad “Islamabadi Studs”, Rawalpindi “Rawal Giants”, Sialkot “SK Stallions”, Peshawar “Khyber Guys”, Quetta “Baloch Mines”, Mardan “Perfect Goodies”, Kashmir “Cool 11 Kashmir”, Gawadar “Awful Kings”, Hyderabad “Sindh 11 Hyderabad”, Multan “Multi Warriors Multan” …

    I’d like to go for the names listed above!Recommend

  • Atif

    Please don’t name it PPL, we can have some other name of the tournament, if PCB cant have other name by them self please ask nation about it, The cricket loving nation will definitely come up with superb name of the tournament.


  • http://http//www.facebook.com m.mubashir dawood

    i think it’s good stap of coming cricket in PakistanRecommend

  • KB24

    Some nice names would be:

    Karachi Flames, Islamabad Avalanche, Lahore Green Sox, Balochistan Renegades.

    the tickets should be made available on ticketmaster.comRecommend

  • Mughal

    And please raise the standard of commentary and score box. I don’t know why we always have to rely on those commentators who haven’t come out of the PTV era yet. When you have Ramiz Raja, Waqar Yunis, Amir Suhail, Waheed Khan and even Moin Khan then why look anywhere else. I m not saying I dun like Mirza Iqbal baig, he is a good host(in his own way) but certainly not a good commentator. I won’t talk about other substandard commentators but i believe i have made my point clear.Recommend

  • aZ

    Faisalabad should take back the name Lyallpur
    Great article :)Recommend

  • Syed

    @Akbar M. Khan:
    Those names are pathetic.. Perfect Goodies? Awful Guys? Seriously?!?Recommend

  • malik

    The problem is to find the sponsors with money. As far as I know, AirTel or Vodafone or Reliance are not likely to sponsor these events nor are they likely to advertise in channels.

    Remember, we people have a short fuse and a small incident could derail the whole event. (For your info, just recently, we have set free, 400 hardcore militants from Bannu prison and they are now looking for odd jobs.)

    You think any corporate will stick his neck out and sponsor a team when he himself is not sure whether the tournament would go on till the end ? Recommend

  • American

    didn’t know about this, but sounds like a lot of fun. Pakistan doesn’t need the foreign players, there’s enough talent in the country to explore.

    You might end up discovering some new boom booms, shoaib’s, kaptaan’s in the process.Recommend

  • http://mobile.twitter.com/zainsattar95 zainy

    we can have the ‘Afghan Avengers’ the ppl @ kP will love it and investment from afghanistan can flow into the country since companies in afghanistan will be interestedRecommend

  • naveed farooq from Quetta

    i m so happy to start PPL but please dont ignore to Bloshistan boht acchi bat hay kay PPL start ho yaha bloshistan say bahi 2 team honi chiya or tama team kay nam Islami hony chaya i m muslim contry Recommend

  • Pungi

    Agree with you but I would prefer more than 8 teams…let the competition b bigger, we have a lot of talent to make all the teams competitive..!!Recommend

  • bhavesh

    name would be PT20Recommend

  • yasir ali

    “peshawari ak47s ” “pindi jawans ” ” karachi street fighters ” for islamabd ” sarkari 11″
    multan “multani piirs” Recommend

  • Omar Malik

    How is “dhamaka league” as a name :)Recommend

  • Ahsan Aziz

    But please don’t name the teams after Animals again..Karachi Zebras, Faisalabd wolves?? .. I never seen any Zebra or Wolf in Khi and Fsd ;)Recommend

  • Irtiza

    PLEASE do not copy others by bringing in cheerleaders, whcih in our case are men in kurta/lacha. Cricket can sure be played without this addition.Recommend


    Zafa Ashraf said tomorrow that six teams could participate in the event,,, SIXER LEAGUE would be a good name Recommend

  • ihtisham khan

    what suprises me is that pakistan cannot even come up with its own unique name..they have to copy the name…how hard is that…??..i mean how hard it is to find a name for the tournament…??..this shows our mentality….come on..lollywood…why not pakistan film industry…ppl…why not pakistan cricket league …or T20 league pakistan..or anything else…i am just saying why copy….come up with anything…Recommend

  • http://hood zulkarpakistani

    good job mr ashraf if pakistan had chairmans like u before ipl would not have existed it would have been ppl and ppl only everywhere ,, ok rightly came even late ,, yes i think about infrastructere u were r8 so it will be good challenge Recommend

  • http://I vp

    Who will watch these games ?Recommend

  • umair

    LIKE COKE STUDIO ;)Recommend

  • http://www.seowebdesignonline.com Akbar M. Khan


    I had used Goodies as Protagonist/Hero not as a Sweet or Delight dude! :)
    So is the case with Awful, I had used Awful as Impressive not as Disgusting! :)
    Thanks for the critics though! :)

    BTW, I won’t be the one who actually going to name the teams! :)Recommend

  • salman

    i think the names should be simple which can create inthusiasm among the populace of major big cities.like Karachi,peshawr,sialkot,lahore etc.how good it sounds.Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    Khayali plaoRecommend

  • Indian

    Please form this league and then enter Champions league too. Ever since t20 fad started my heart felt ambition has been to see Delhi Daredevils vs Lahore Baadshahs or Mumbai Indians vs Karachi Stallions

    These matches would also mean increased bonhomie between our countries. Lots of luck.Recommend

  • tehreem junaid

    I totally agree wid ur idea of name in urdu… for that i suggest name “Pakistan ki league” (PKL)Recommend

  • http://www.tanzeel.wordpress.com Tanzeel

    Team Names:

    Pakistan people’s Parrots
    Pakistan Muslim Lotaas (N)
    Pakistan Tehreek e Establishment
    Jamaati Bears
    Sunni Dolphins
    Awami National Pandas
    Tereek e Taliban Waziristan
    All Pakistan Musharraf league

    League Name:
    T20 Democratic League Recommend

  • citizen

    @tanzeel : LOL :DRecommend

  • Abbas, ZA

    Pakistan should try to have it own league. Pakistanis need to have some awareness that IPL is India’s domestic league and not international cricket competition. After Mumbai (thanks to Hafiz Saaed) incident, it may be decades before Pakistani team will be allowed to play in India.Recommend

  • Super Star

    Waziristani Terrorists, Afghan refugees, Angry Altaf Mohajirs, Seperatist Balochs, Sectarian Gilgits, Lal Masjid Ghazis, Confused PTIs, Hair Transplant Sharif Boys, Londoni Bhuttos, 10% Zardaris, Kayani Martials would be good names for PPL Teams . Should have political and Religious patronage as well so wont need corporate money. Teams from Afghanistan and Waziristan will ensure security as well. In case some Foreign players do manage some courage to come to PPL they can have a seperate team called Scared Infidels !!Recommend

  • Sanya

    I heard they are inviting teams from Dubai, Beijing and Kabul… They should also invite one from Srinagar. It would be brilliant.Recommend

  • Imran & Asif

    Plz improve structure of Stadiums like Indian Stadiums before this League.
    And create as many teams as possible.Recommend

  • bharat

    Pakistan T20 League will be a big success in Pakistan. It will give a lot of players from small places a chance to prove themselves. Even if few foreign players come, it wont make much difference.Recommend

  • Junaid

    Great article! I must add, presentation is the key. There has to be a professional website featuring live updates, news, media gallery and so on- a way for people to stay connected! Let’s face it, how much face time will cricinfo give any other league than ipl? We saw that during bpl season! A professional IT company must manage that website. Expense for it can be covered by selling team gears on the same website and so on. Talking about draft/auction, again its all about presentation, make sure it done in some big auditorium and some hotel lobby, please! If you want to see how it is done, please see clips of NFL draft! Recommend

  • http://www.avantgarde.com.pk Avantgarde

    Really looking forward to PPL!! If there is a BPL then there sure can be a PPL!! Pakistanis are also very talented and we can start our own league where foreign players would want to play! Recommend

  • RAJA


  • Xara

    Please be optimistic ………Come out of this state of mindRecommend

  • tayyab

    absouletly awsome article ….

  • Dr. Asad Sadick, Germany

    Name it “Super 20”, and dont include Indian cricketers. Recommend

  • Rizvi

    Nice article, you should send one copy of this article to the PCB. I hope it may help them to pick some good points, espeically with lesser teams 8 or 10 or maximum 12 teams. They should also contact with the business community to invest. All matches should be held in Punjab in view of the security problems in other provinces. Senior players like Afridi should given task to convince foreing players to come Pakistan to play the league. Recommend

  • Omair Mushtaq

    hi! as an author of this article i would like to say thanks to all of readers who took time to read this…..and big thanks for Express Tribune for publishing it…..

    i felt so happy after reading your comments that there are lots of people out there who think like me….and are passionate about Pakistan & our cricket….a big hug for friends who believe that soon we will be able to see T20 matches on our grounds and a bigger hug for friends who dont believe this will happen for being so negative….

    peave & love…..Recommend

  • hassan

    Tharanga Paranavitana can be made the Brand Ambassador for the league and he can be requested to invite the participation on non-Indian foreign players. Recommend

  • fawadullah

    it is a place of pleasur that the pakistan cricket board lunch the t20 cricket match it will useful for pakistan and it will be a good chance for the best player of the world i hope that PCB DONT FORGET THE AFGHAN BEST PLAYERS….Recommend

  • http://blogs.tribune.com.pk [email protected]

    ppl will held and rawalpindi ramz will won it and gayle will be captainRecommend

  • lummy

    Rawalpindi Royals,karachi kites, lahore badshahs, sialkot stallions,balochistan renagedes, kashmir gate crashers, kyber crusaders, islamabad giants. These would be my teams whst you guys think ?Recommend

  • Danish Kayani


    Islamabad Invaders
    Lahore Badshahs
    Rawalpindi Riders
    Karachi Kings
    Sialkot Stallions
    Peshawar Predators
    Faislabad Thunders
    Quetta Blasters
    Kashmir TitansRecommend

  • Pinto

    I got one more name “pak mulla league”Recommend





  • K.R

    Mirpur (A.K) main b matches honay chahiyeRecommend

  • suraj

    or how about “Taliban Cricket Club” or “OBL Trophy”?Recommend

  • Shamsher Niazi

    Well,who ever wrote it,he wrote 101% right!!!
    Pindi stadium me bilkul ticketing ka nizam sahi nai tha……
    League name: Jazba e Pakistan Cricket League
    Teams names:
    1.Lhr Boomerzz Pakistan
    2.RWP Strikers
    3.Sialkot Smashers
    4.Peshawar Panthers Pakistan
    5.Beijing Warriors
    6.KHI UnitEd Pakistan
    7.Fsl Furious
    8.Quetta Quanchers
    Well can u provide this data to PCB?Recommend

  • anonymous

    everybody is giving his/her ‘PREVICIOUS ADVICE’ i.e; unique name..unique teams names..etc etc
    ‘jitny mun utni baatain’
    no one has suggested even a single name where all v can agree ..so stop commenting until unless you could gv something unique..Recommend

  • manutd

    We should have a league based on the playoff system like the NBA and the MLS. Just a suggestion.Recommend

  • http://www.playupindia.com/cringo/ Online Android Games

    @cricketlover: Don’t know whether the foreign player will go to pakistan….Recommend

  • basitkhosa

    pakistan m hona chahyeRecommend