Cricket leagues have made modern cricket much more fascinating and interesting in the last few years. With all other major cricketing nations having their own leagues, it was necessary for the Pakistani cricket to have one too. PCB had been planning to organize the Pakistan Super League for several years and after two unsuccessful attempts, the Pakistan Super League was finally announced on 9 September 2015 in Lahore by Pakistan Cricket Board.
The Pakistan Super League itself is a major breakthrough for Pakistan cricket. It not only has paved the way to open the gates of international cricket in the country but has also served as a great platform for domestic cricketers to show their potential. The Pakistani cricket fans seem so happy to have their own league and being able to watch cricket in their home ground. Many international star cricketers have visited Pakistan and many more are willing to visit in future. The likes of Darren Sammy, Tamim Iqbal, Thisara Perera, Marlon Samuels, David Malan, Chris Jordan, Luke Ronchi, and JP Duminy are a few to name who came to Pakistan to play for their sides in different editions of PSL.
One of the great impacts of PSL is the emerging talent that Pakistan cricket has discovered. Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Nawaz, Asif Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Hussain Talat are the ones who have already debuted for the national team. The earlier mentioned players were also the ones who played a vital role in clenching the recently held Champions Trophy final against the arch-rivals, India.
The rise in Popularity over the Years
The PCB sold commercial rights to the franchises for US$93 million for a time span of 10 years in 2015. In 2016, after the successful completion of the first edition, the market value of PSL was claimed to be US$300 million by Arif Habib – a member of the Pakistan Super League Governing Council.
In 2018, after having completed 3 very successful editions, the popularity started touching the sky and the estimate of Pakistan Super league’s market value have now reached up to 1 billion US dollars.
The first edition of PSL was comprised of five teams. According to PCB, around 20 parties showed a keen interest in buying the teams. However, the top 5 bidders were given the rights to buy in the first edition. In 3rd edition, another team was added to the league in order to make it more competitive and interesting.
Karachi Kings mainly representing the Sindh province area was sold to Salman Iqbal (CEO ARY Group) for US$2.6 million/year. Salman Iqbal is recognized as one of the most influential media personalities in Pakistan as well as in South Asia and Middle-East. He is also a very successful Entrepreneur and founder of the ARY Media Group.
The Karachi Kings had some of the best T20 players on paper but the story was different on the pitch. The team performance was not up to the mark and failed to deliver what their fans expected. The only highlights of the team were Babar Azam, Muhammad Amir, and Ravi Bopara, who played quite impressively.
Rana Fawad (MD Qalco) bought Lahore Qalandars for US$2.5 million/year. He was the one who first stepped forward to announce a team for Pakistan Super League. Rana is also among some of the most successful businessmen of Pakistan.
Lahore Qalandars being the second most expensive franchise in the first two seasons and third most in last year’s edition were expected to deliver something extraordinary. Even with the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Brendon McCullum Ajantha Mendis and Kevon Cooper playing for the team, Qalandars still showed poor performance in all 3 editions of PSL. They have consistently come on the last spot in all three editions of PSL.
The Peshawar Zalmi was sold to Javed Afridi (CEO Haier Pakistan) for US$1.6 million/year. Javed Afridi is an influential businessman and CEO of the Haier Group Pakistan. He has become very popular among the Zalmi fans in the last three years.
Peshawar Zalmi, the underdogs have enjoyed a good journey in every edition of PSL. They have been extremely good in all seasons. The two times finalists were good enough in the second edition to grab the league title in final against Gladiators but failed to keep the trophy by losing the finals to United.
Nadeem Omar (Director Omar Associates) acquired Quetta Gladiators for US$1.1 million/year. Mr. Omar is known for his passion for sports of all kinds. His company has been promoting not only cricket but also other sports in the country.
Despite being the least expensive franchise, Gladiators have always delivered beyond the expectations in pre-elimination matches. But as far as the elimination rounds are concerned, Gladiators have failed to perform. They have been the finalists in first and second editions but failed to convert their performance into league victory. The can be labeled as ‘The Chokers’ of PSL.
Islamabad United was sold to Amna Naqvi and Ali Naqvi (Owners Leonine Global) for US$1.5 million/year. Both Ali and Amna are LUMS alumni. Their company Leonine Global also owns a franchise Hong Kong Island United in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
Islamabad United have been the most consistent side of the PSL. The two-time league winners have enjoyed the company of some of the best T20 performers on their side including the likes of Luke Ronchi, Steven Finn, Shane Watson, Dwayne Smith, Brad Haddin, and Sam Billings.
Multan Sultan was sold for a whopping US$5.2 million to Nasir Schon and sons (Schon Properties/year) for US$4.1 million/years. Nasir Schon is a billionaire and one of the wealthiest people in Pakistan. He has so many successfully running ventures under his name.
The most expensive side in PSL – Multan Sultans debuted in the third edition with mostly big guns at their side. They outclassed every team in their first encounters. However, in their second fixtures, the Sultans lost their rhythm and were only able to grab the fourth position in the points table.
PSL in the last 3 years
PSL has become a brand since it was launched in 2015. It has got bigger and bigger after each of its consecutive successful editions over the past 3 years.
First Edition – The inaugural edition was held in 2016 which included 5 teams. The whole league was held in UAE because of security concerns in Pakistan. A total of 24 matches were played. The final which was held in Dubai International Stadium saw the Misbah ul Haq led Islamabad United claiming an easy victory over Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Quetta Gladiators.
Second Edition – The second edition also comprised of 5 teams and 24 matches. But this time, the final was held in Pakistan. It was 5 March 2017, when the Qaddafi Stadium held one of the historic matches in Pakistani cricket history. It was again Quetta Gladiators in the final facing their rivals and also tournament favorites, Peshawar Zalmi. The tournament favorites Zalmis didn’t disappoint their fans and won the league after quite a one-sided final.
Third Edition – The latest edition of PSL was held in February – March of 2018. With the addition of a new team – Multan Sultans, this time the number of matches was increased to 34 out of which, 3 were held in Pakistan. The historic National Stadium Karachi was honored to hold the final. The other two matches, Eliminator and Qualifier 2 were hosted by Lahore’s Qaddafi Stadium. The final was a battle between two of the former league winners – Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United. Despite being a weak side comparatively, Zalmi gave quite a tough time to United but the United kept their nerves and the match ended in their favor. Islamabad was victorious for the second time.
Picture Credits: The National