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Pakistan Super League’s popularity had raised the charts exponentially since its inaugural season six years ago. It is now arguably the second biggest T20 cricket league globally, second to none other than the Indian Premier League. So that takes us to the big question; “How can the PSL compete with the Indian Premier League?”
Now, unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. When comparing both the leagues, we first need to accept that since IPL has been around for at least 14 years, a comparison between them isn’t going to be on level ground. However, PSL has never been your average league.
It has taken down leagues much older than it, like the Caribbean Premier League, and arguably the BBL shows that it has the unparalleled potential to go places. Therefore these are some steps which PCB can take to raise the quality of PSL such that it comes to the level of competing with the IPL directly:
It’s a rule of the thumb that auctions are more successful than drafts, not only because in most cases they involve more money. The sheer unpredictable nature of theirs is primarily what attracts the stars of the cricketing world towards a league. The popularity of the Indian Premier League can hugely be accredited to auctions. With reports coming that the New PCB chairman, Ramiz Raja, is already considering this, this sole move can prove to be a game-changer in League’s journey.
2. Changing the Dates
In our opinion, the reality of conducting the Pakistan Super League in the February-March window has proved to be a significant obstacle in promoting the league down south. Factually, February and March fall in the cricketing summer season of Australia, Newzealand, and South Africa.
Therefore, it should not be difficult to see how much the cricketing quality of the league is affected as the majority of SNA cricketers out of SENA have no choice but not to come due to national duties, even if they want to come.
See this Jimmy Neesham’s reply, for instance:
The best alternative would be to hold the league every October-November every year instead, as no team has its cricket-heavy schedule in these months. PCB can go through the FTP of every cricketing national for the next five years so that PSL can attract other foreign and heavy players.
3. Addition of More Teams
This is something which should’ve been done earlier. IPL already has eight teams, with two more coming shortly. Only six teams serving a population of 220 million people is, therefore, a mere joke. It also affects the number of overseas players playing in the league. A maximum of 36 overseas players can play in one season, considering each team is allowed 6 in its squad. Having eight teams would take this number to 48, a massive 33% improvement.
More teams will also mean more local players getting a chance to play the league. This move, therefore, has benefits written all over it: more teams, more sponsors, and more financial support to PCB and our local players.
4. Fan Parks
PSL Fan Parks can be set up in areas of Pakistan where there are no stadiums, or holding matches is not possible for some reason. Fan Parks will increase the attachment of these people with the league, increasing its popularity. The facilities provided in Fan Parks include, but are not limited to, displaying matches on a large screen, selling cricket-related merchandise, food stalls, and other fun activities.
This is the best example for Pakistan Super League management of how IPL sets up the fan parks and many people come and enjoy there.
5. Allocation of Home Grounds to Teams
IPL and many other leagues have pulled this off to a successful effect. Home grounds of franchises help them become a brand. This, in turn, attracts people towards the games and the results in the entire house more often than not. A Peshawar Zalmi vs. Quetta Gladiators match in Arbab Niaz stadium is likely to pull much more crowd than the exact match happening in, let’s say, Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
Therefore, quick renovation of stadiums in Peshawar and Quetta is the need of the hour. Multan Cricket Ground also deserves much more matches, considering the crowd that came to watch the 3 PSL matches played there to date.
Every single venture nowadays needs significant sponsors, and that’s a fact. PSL cannot be made effective enough to compete in the Indian Premier League until a similar amount of outrageous finances is put into it. And we all know money doesn’t grow on trees. The sponsors bring it. Promotion of Pakistan Super League such that any sizeable international company is ready to become its main sponsor will result in money pouring into the league.
This money can consequently be used to improve the quality of cricket in the league, bridging the gap between IPL and the PSL. Keeping all the resources in consideration, It can safely be concluded that while Pakistan Super League is currently nowhere near the Indian Premier League. The above few steps can help PSL grow bigger and better. As a result, it might be competing with the IPL directly soon!
Written by Ashar Ali Khan and Rohail Ramzan Ali