The ambitious Pakistan Super League (PSL) has seen the addition of a new franchise, Multan. The franchise will be seen in action from the 3rd edition which commences next year.
Dubai-based Schon Group beat competition from 10 bidders and grabbed the contract for an eight-year span. The total contract is worth $41.6 million calculated on the basis of the reserve price of $5.2 million per year. The Schon group is managed and owned by Nasir Schon and his two sons, who have their family roots in Pakistan.
The city of Multan, also known as the City of Saints, is the 6th largest city in Pakistan and is very popular for its rich Islamic and Sufi tradition.
This latest deal also takes away the honour from Karachi Kings for being the most expensive team of the PSL with the ARY Group purchasing it for $2.6m per year for 10 years. The other teams of PSL Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators were purchased for $2.5m, $1.6m, $1.5m and $1.1m, respectively.
The PSL will now be six-team affair which directly means that the number of matches played will increase significantly. The format may also see some change. Chairman Najam Sethi is also putting in efforts to stage four matches of the upcoming edition of the PSL in Pakistan.
The T20 league based on the model of successful Indian Premier League and Big Bash League is seen as an effort to build goodwill and bring back international cricket to Pakistan.
So, the hard work has paid off, especially after Lahore hosted the finals featuring a host of international names. The Pakistan Cricket Board is now hoping that more positive steps are taken forward to realise the dream of making international cricket alive in Pakistan.
Apart from helping Pakistan Cricket resurrect their global image, the league has also successfully provided some superstars to the national team. Teenage leg-spinner Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zama and Hasan Ali, who are in the Champions Trophy Squad in England, all have emerged from the PSL.
It has also served as a platform for senior players like Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Shehzad and Umar Akmal to place their claims for a comeback in the national setup after being ousted for various reasons.