After denied negotiations with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), the Pakistan Cricket Board has approached Qatar to host its own Twenty20 league in Doha, February 16.
The PCB had initially planned to host the franchise-based T20 league in UAE, Pakistan’s virtual home since 2009. However, when the board approached the ECB to secure the venues during the third week of June, they learned that the organisers of the Masters Champions League – a tournament for retired international cricketers – had already booked the stadiums for the February window. The MCL was unveiled at the Burj Al Arab on June 3, with former cricketers Brian Lara, Jacques Kallis, Adam Gilchrist and Wasim Akram all in attendance as icon players.
It is likely the PCB will wait another month before going forward with Doha as the alternative venue for the inaugural version of the league. It is understood that Pakistan even see Doha as a potential venue to host their Under-19, Women and A games on a long-term basis.
The PCB has been floating the idea of hosting their own T20 league for the last five years, though the talks never really materialised into anything substantial. Logistical issues led to an indefinite postponement of the league in 2013, and while there was an attempt to revive the tournament in 2014, with the PCB inviting various parties to acquire rights for the Pakistan Super League (PSL), the quality of the bids meant that the board put their plans on hold again.
The PCB’s chairman Shaharyar Khan and executive committee head Najam Sethi have both been at loggerheads in public over the tournament, but the board recently defused the situation by issuing a press release stating that both men were supporting each other. The PCB is racing against time, but the board said it was “determined” to host its first league involving high-profile players from around the world.
During Zaka Ashraf’s regime, the PSL business model – unveiled in January 2013 – was expected to fetch the PCB “in excess of $100 million”. The PCB had also announced the base prices of players for a proposed auction, though they did not reveal the pool of players who had signed up for the tournament. The current design of the league is based on the draft system, according to which the distribution of top players among the five franchises will be equally managed
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