Cricket mania is something which truly holds the people of the sub-continent together. Be it India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, the game enjoys a tremendous audience. The ongoing IPL cricket fever in India is a good way to gauge what will happen if something on similar lines is launched in Pakistan.
In fact, former captain Rameez Raja has suggested earlier this year that the Pakistan Cricket Board should launch a Pakistan Premier League (PPL) similar to the cash rich Indian Premier League in a bid to reinstate international cricket in the country.
He felt that the time is ripe to launch PPL as it would not only elevate cricketing standards in the country but will also sweep in the much needed money for the cash-strapped cricketers of the country.
The Captain also felt that though the glitz and glamour of IPL cannot be matched, still, it would serve as a platform and role model on a smaller scale for the proposed PPL provided that players can be brought in from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or even Zimbabwe or Kenya to come and play in the league.
Another former captain, Aamer Sohail also backed the idea of PPL and demanded the board to initiate the idea at the earliest. Both the cricketers feel that if the idea becomes a reality, it would bring a sense of professionalism amongst the cricketers – a key factor that is missing due to low payment for domestic cricketers.
A major benefit that would be gained is that the PPL would help nurture new cricketing talent in Pakistan. There is a dire need for fresh talent considering the lack of discipline, poorly run administration, and inter-rivalry that is so often noted amongst the senior and experienced players. These factors are leading to badly undermining the game of Pakistani cricket – a fact that is pretty obvious considering the team's disastrous performance in Australia recently where it suffered a complete whitewash in both the three-match Test and five-game ODI series.
With pressure mounting on the government to take radical steps to stem the string of problems in the cricket set-up, well placed sources confirmed that Pakistan cricket was in for an upheaval soon. One hopes that if Pakistan cricket is to move forward one of the best measures would be the setting up of PPL. After all, the IPL is predicted to bring the BCCI income of approximately US$1.6 billion, over a period of five to ten years – and these are only estimates.
Shahid Afridi in T 20