T20: A league of our own

Published: July 6, 2011
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I can envision the people of Pakistan being taken by a storm by a T20 league simply because there is so much talent to go around.

Cricket’s future in Pakistan is bright! But the prospects of Pakistan in international cricket look bleak to say the least.

Isolated from the world of cricket, fans at home are hungry to see live action at their local stadiums. Instead, they are forced to see their stars perform on TV as they play “home series” in places like New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and England.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has become a laughing stock and its management, a back page joke.

Our captain, Misbahul Haq, calls playing for Pakistan equivalent to “mental torture.”

The ICC, while attempting to do all it possibly can to stop us from sliding into oblivion, has more often than not let Pakistan down.

Pakistani fans know there is no reason except blatant discrimination for our continued exclusion from Champions League Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League (IPL).

So, how should the cornered tigers respond?

Enter Faysal Bank T20 2011

The recently concluded Faysal Bank T20 tournament saw immense public interest and a large turn up at the Iqbal stadium in Faisalabad. There was high quality of cricket on display, and an abundant supply of players with the fire power to bring the crowd to their feet.

The tournament was a major success.

It showed the bright possibilities and the richness of talent that is anxiously waiting for a chance to express itself. What the PCB needs to do, is to create a better model, and transition this short tournament into a league, with the possibility of including teams from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and even Sri Lanka. It would also be wise to host the tournament in multiple cities rather than playing all the matches at one venue.

I do not see why something similar to the IPL cannot succeed in Pakistan.

Auction teams from each city to investors; create a salary cap to avoid imbalances in quality. We do not need international cricketers to compensate for the substandard quality of regional players, like in the IPL. On any given day, you can pick a line-up of players from their native cities/suburbs of Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Sialkot and expect them to beat any domestic T20 team in the world. We have the finest fast bowlers in the world, a history of great all-rounders and incisive spinners of all varieties. Our batsmen may lack the finesse and technical prowess, but we are the kings of the shorter format.

Why not make our own league?

Let’s build a league in Pakistan which will be lucrative for the board, sponsors, players and the local market. They should:

– Have a dedicated website streaming live feed and highlights from matches.

– Improve the quality of commentary and play some Coke Studio rather than old Punjabi songs, and we’ll have our own party.

The likes of Rameez Raja Jr, Asad Shafiq and Ahmed Shehzad lighting up the night skies with the swing of their bats, and the pace of Sohail Khan and Tanvir Ahmed sending stumps cart-wheeling, mixed with some crafty spin, traditional shoddy fielding and I’m content.

This, in turn, will improve the quality of our national team. With the eyes of the country watching, the occasional parchi players will no longer be able to slip through and only the talented players will break through the ranks.

Most importantly, this will prepare the younger players to better handle the pressures of playing in front of a large crowd. They will also learn to deal with fame and all the responsibilities that come with it at a much earlier age.

I can envision the people of Pakistan being taken by a storm by a T20 league simply because there is so much talent to go around.

The only problem is, the nincompoops sitting at the helm are too busy berating each other and seem to have no time to take initiative and get this plan off the tarmac. There is incredible potential for domestic cricket in Pakistan to flourish – all we need are a few good people to take this plan forward and our dependency and care for the ICC will be a thing of the past. When the world see’s the treasure chest of talent fighting it out, they will come to us themselves and even if they don’t, it’s simply because they are not quite ready to compete with the T20 kings.

said.chaudhry

Said Chaudhry

A doctor and cricket fanatic who blogs at saidcanblog.blogspot.com and tweets @saidation

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

  • Bilal

    One bomb blast can send all this hope tumbling down!Recommend

  • Arslan

    Our captain, Misbahul Haq, calls playing for Pakistan equivalent to “mental torture.”

    -> Sir, ET has (unintentionally of course) twisted Misbah’s words. He never said that playing for Pakistan is a ‘mental torture’, but instead ‘playing in midst of match-fixing controversies was a mental torture’. So please don’t keep criminalizing Misbah’s words.

    But indeed Pakistan should have a well structured league of its own: benefices not only for the Ijaz Butts, but also domestic players, and domestic structure as a whole.
    And we’ve found some gems during the last FBT20 tournament!Recommend

  • antony

    @Said , Pakistan lost to India in world cup which I guess makes you feel so jealous about India and introduce this crappy line into your write up ” We do not need international cricketers to compensate for the substandard quality of regional players, like in the IPL. ” other than this line I appreciate your spirit and desire to have a Pakistani PPL . I as an indian still feel current Indian bowlers dont equal wahab riaz or saeed bowling talent but that does not mean india does not have a strong team which they are . Also note that you can always say pakistani cricketers as kings and be proud of having finest bowlers which is patriotic but dont add Indian players are sub standard which shows you are immature ,insecure and portray self inflicted victimisation.Recommend

  • Alapan

    I dont understand why Pakistani writers/bloggers need to demonise india in everything to write some thing good about Pakistanis..
    U claim PCB has become a laughing stock in world cricket, but when u claim Indian players are sub-standard(When was the last time u beat in a Series??), u have become a laughing stock here.

    really immature and childish articles. Not upto ET standards(Dont u guys have quality check?)Recommend

  • AZ

    @ antony

    You make a valid point. Every team has its own balance of quality players. The author should not have made that point regarding the Indian players. At the end of the day, its just a game and every game has its ups and downs. India performed exceptionally well in the WC and enjoyed a well-deserved victory.

    @ Author

    With the exception of the comment berating Indian players, a very good article. Its about time that such an initiative is taken in Pakistan at a national level. It would do a great service to cricket in this country by providing a larger pool of talent and a new means of entertainment for the cricket-crazy folks of this land. Instead of criticizing the Indian players, take a look at the immense talent that the likes of IPL has provided for their national team.

    Overall, I think a T20 league for Pakistan is a great idea and if properly executed, could do wonders for the game, players and fans alike.Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    Antony & Alapan,
    I don’t expect everything I write to go down well with every person who reads it. I admire the Indian cricket team with passion and think there is much Pakistan should learn from India, especially in batting. Dhoni is one of my favourite cricketers. That been said, I do think the quality of regional players alone in India is not as good as you’ll find in Pakistan. If it was, India would dominate cricket the way Australia did in Steve Waugh-Ponting (2005) era. I don’t expect a team consisting of players whose domicile is from Chandigarh/Mohali and neighbouring suburbs to be a force in the IPL. On the contrary, at least three different cities in Pakistan’s Punjab can easily give a stiff competition in the IPL. Heck, even Lahore Badshah’s dominated ICL for two years with washed up players. When you pick a national team for India, you do end up with quality players simply from the large pool available to choose from. Don’t take it the wrong way, but this article is a plan for Pakistan after repeated snubs from the BCCI aka ICC; which some might call immature and insecure. We, the fans in Pak, just want to see quality cricket. Recommend

  • sumeet

    @said choudhary,the typical chest thumping pakistani mentality.to win any tournament,you dont need best fast bowler and best batsman,but the best team spirit.when did the last time pak team has played like a real unit?your lahore badshah argument made me laugh.what do u think only lahore badshah had washed up players and not others team?how do you concluded that the talent of regional player of pakistan is better than in india or you thought of the hindu muslim equation.and regarding ipl its only the decision of ipl owner,if its discrimination for you,i cant do anything.Recommend

  • sumeet

    on a second thought,why the super talented pakistani player make uproar to play in a substandard tournament like ipl?Recommend

  • Rajat

    @To all indians
    Chill out…
    He made a small immature comment, and backed it with some equally irresponsible words. But it dosent mean we have to jump at him like a pack of wolves, no matter what you do you wont change his mentality towards us, equally, no matter what I say, you guys wont stop bragging about India or belittling their country. Sadly, Its how we have been brought up. Personally, I hope the optimism on the current Indo-Pak talks prevails, and we get to see the good old nail biting sub-continental rivalry not on a keyboard, but on the cricket pitch.Recommend

  • Alapan

    @ Said

    Ur skewed logic is that “if India was better than Pakistan, we would have dominated like Australia under Steve/Ricky”..So now u claim u r better than Australia of that era too..

    Y dont u pakistanis can digest the fact that India rite now is better than Pakistan in Cricket?(as always 1 pakistani = 10 indians logic)

    We are now rank 1 in Test Cricket, world champions in ODI Cricket.

    We are not and may never be as good as Steve Waugh’s Invincibles but for now we are the best in the world.
    Plz go ask ur heroes(mine too)…Wasim and Imran about who rite now is the best team in the world.?

    Until u guys win a test series against a good team(South Africa, England and India)..ur words are nothing but hollow as a empty vessel.Recommend

  • Mr. Nobody

    the big question my dear friend is who would want to invest big money in this league when all that takes to derail it is one “strategic asset” exploding himself outside the stadium.Recommend

  • http://saidcanblog.blogspot.com Said Chaudhry

    Rajat, if my small comment seems immature then I’m sorry for that. I’m not sure what’s so irresponsible about the facts I used to back that up. Whether you think a Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Lahore & Karachi team (without any foreign players) can’t give any domestic team T20 (in the world) team a run for their money? I’m pretty confident they can and be successful. Just have a look at the Friends Life T20 in England and you’ll see which players are performing better than others and where they are from. The scope of this article is limited to t20 cricket only. Indeed, in the past Ranji Trophy winners from India and Quaid-e-Azam Cup winners from Pak have competed in a one-off first-class match, with the team from India coming out trumps. I have no hesitations in admitting India has one of the best odi and test sides and have done extremely well in the longer format of the game. But it’s the constant snubbing of Pakistan from CL that gets to me, if that’s the way your board wants to role the dice then so be it. Monopolise the game of cricket and twist arms, ban domestic players from participating in SLPL, cry hue over DRS and be okay with it. But why throw arms up in protest if you don’t agree with what a blogger from Pakistan thinks? Recommend

  • http://et die hard paki fan

    Sorry 2 all indian 4 calling dem dub standard india is domenating world cricket at da moment but idea of creating pak leauge is not bad if dey get investors from uk and uae dey can stage it in uae or any other country bt not in pak bcoz of security bt with current mangement nothing can happen dey simply uneducated to stage such a leauge dey can’t stage enough int games for pak where dey ganna stage such a leauge. But stil hope it does happen I admire author’s words wen he said ‘parchibaaz won’t be able to slip in easily fantastic broRecommend

  • Rajat

    Said,
    First of all, my comment was directed to my compatriots, and my apologies if I was very harsh on you. I never once said that Pakistan lacks in talent. To be a reckoning force at times like these, with security crisis, and mismanagement of the board and pretty much everything else speaks a lot about the raw talent in your country. Regarding the DRS issue, its what the board feels and I personally agree with it. In the last test match of ind vs wi Dhoni was fined 60% of his match fees for bowling 3 overs less, if time is of utmost concern for the officials, why waste time referring to 3rd umpire? why allow the teams to strategise in the interval? Save one or two instances we never had any major issues of bad umpiring. and as a member of the cricketing nations BCCI has every right to voice its concerns. It has done before and it is doing now, the only difference is that its clout has increased(which may irk you guys.. lol..). Coming to the issue of CL, I agree wholeheartedly with you, and also protest against the non inclusion of the Pak team. The matter is beyond our control, and is all based on realpolitiks. One thing to be kept in mind is that CL is a JV between BCCI, CSA, & ACB and is being played in India. So BCCI more or less calls the shots. Majority of the people in India(and Pakistan?… you have to tell me Said) hope that the political deadlock between us gets resolved and we get to see more cricket between us.Recommend

  • nilu_India

    Although , I believe the comment by the author on the substandard level of regional players of India is very immature but I would also like to add that we do miss Pakistani players in the IPL and its high time that BCCI should encourage team owners to include Pakistani players. Even Government of India should pitch in on this regard by making positive statements. Nothing will be better for Indo-pak relations than watching Indian and Pakistani players playing together and winning matches for their respective teams and gaining support from local fans. Recommend

  • Ali

    @Rajat: in last reply i really apreciate your wisdom, you adressed issues not country or author, that’s the siprit i want to see in educated lot of Pakistan and India.

    Please think diffrent from common or lay man, mostly both sides give same orgument which an uneducated person used to give, show your intellectual power and behave like civiliaed crteature.

    Anyways i am impressed with both of you SAID CHOUDHRY OR RAJAT.Recommend

  • vickram

    “Auction teams from each city to investors” – Psst….tell me who is going to invest…Amreeka? Citibank? Remember your PCB is bankrupt…..

    “blatant discrimination for our continued exclusion from Champions League Twenty20 and the Indian Premier League”….Pakistanis are not wanted in Indian soil and I think it is clear as daylight…Where is the discrimination in that?

    “We do not need international cricketers…”….Don’t delude yourself..only international cricketers with a death wish will agree to play in Pakistan…

    “On any given day, you can pick a line-up of players from their native cities/suburbs of Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Sialkot and expect them to beat any domestic T20 team in the world.”….I think you have watched Lagaan too many times….

    “When the world see’s the treasure chest of talent fighting it out, they will come to us themselves…”……sorry, the world is waiting for the area to be cleared of suicide bombers before rushing……

    Looks like you people are resigned to the fact that you will never be able to compete in test arena again and concentrating on T20 format. Pragmatism wins…..

    By the way, Said, you do have a quirky sense of humor!Recommend

  • hari

    After reading some of the rather emotional comments from the trolls, I must admit that your plan sounds like the need of the hour. Laymen can’t tolerate opinions, how do you expect them to tolerate each other? None of these trolls would have any problem with you if you were a blogger from Mumbai :-) Your nationality is the reason for the backlash, not your opinion. PeaceRecommend

  • Daud Ahmed

    Atlast someone talking common sense.. we dont need foreign player to start league. 6 teams all local players playing from their native cities will wrk wonder .. we need to learn to partyRecommend

  • Anoop

    I respect your desire but IPL is a little more than a Cricket League. Its a celebration, its a party.

    Its a place where the rich invest, and the common man celebrates while cheering for his local team. The blend of Bollywood adds to the Glamour Quotient.

    I doubt if Pakistan, or any other Cricket playing Country can match the vibrancy of the IPL. But, you can have a League which can try.Recommend