The History of Pakistan Super League – How it All Started

Does not matter where you live, if you watch cricket, you must be aware of the Pakistan Super League. At a time when cricket leagues were introduced to entertain the public and earn money, Pakistan Super League was started to bring cricket back home. 

So far, it has remained a success story as Australia is scheduled to visit Pakistan right after the PSL. Many other teams also have either toured the country or are committed to doing so in the future. Credit for all this goes to this cricket brand and people who dreamed of Pakistan’s biggest cricket tournament. Let’s dig out how all this started.

Pakistan Super League was the need of Pakistan

Pakistan required PSL more than the PCB even. Six years ago, Pakistan was one of the most dangerous countries to travel as blasts and attacks from terrorist organizations like Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, and Daesh had turned the country into a security state where nobody was safe. The country’s image, as well as the sports and tourism industries, were affected badly.

Before 2009, the Pakistan cricket board used to earn and spend as much as it required. After the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in Lahore, the  Jam-packed cricket stadiums of the country remained empty for years. During 2009-15, BCCI had become the world’s richest cricket board, thanks to IPL. It had started to leave its influence in the cricket world. PCB, on the other hand, had nothing to play with.

In 2012, the idea of the Pakistan Premier League was conceived but it took four years to start it with a different name; Pakistan Super League. It was to differentiate it from other brands. Pakistan has very few brands it can own and take pride in – PSL is one of those few brands.

Afridi vs Misbah
Misbah ul Haq & Shahid Afridi representing Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi

Also Read: All Teams Finalized Players for PSL 7

Money, Talent, Entertainment & Competition

PCB had to do a lot of things, it required money for that. When PSL started, nobody knew what was going to happen. There was a Master’s Champions League going on in the UAE when PSL started in 2016. It all started in tough circumstances in a world where only the fittest could survive.

Secondly, it was started in the UAE. You can not compare it with any other league if it happens on dead pitches. Yet, Pakistan Super League became a success story after its first edition. 

Cricket fans in Pakistan missed cricket at home grounds so after PSL started with the aim to bring cricket back home, they got at least something to cheer about.

The green team was playing an old brand of cricket in 2016; its performances in WC 2015 and T20 WC 2016 reflected this. Over time, differences and gaps had to increase. 

After the tournament started, new talented youngsters started getting opportunities, and just after two editions, Pakistan won Champions Trophy 2017 where Hasan Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, and Ruman Raees impressed everyone. All of them were identified and selected due to their performances in the league.

Cricket Came Back Home

Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe at home after the 2015 World Cup. Yet, it failed to host any other country in the next two years. It was declared before the start of the second edition of the PSL that the final will be played at Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. Next year, the eliminators and final were played in Pakistan.

In 2019, as many as 8 matches of the Pakistan Super League were conducted in Pakistan. West Indies and Sri Lanka had toured Pakistan before the next season began so when PCB realized that foreign players also had started to trust Pakistan, everything started to normalize with the full fifth season planned to be hosted where the league belonged.

The 2020 version was probably the best edition of the history of the Pakistan Super League. This was supposed to be played in Pakistan fully but a rapid increase of COVID-19 cases and sudden changes in the travel and visa policies of the governments delayed the remaining games. 

The situation was supposed to improve in 2021.  But once some positive cases were identified after the first 16 games, it again had to be taken to where it all began.

Lahore vs Karachi
In 2020, Cricket came back fully in Pakistan due to PSL

Facts and Figures

  1. Karachi Kings’ skipper Babar Azam has scored the most runs in the Pakistan Super League.
  2. Peshawar Zalmi’s Wicket-keeper batsman Kamran Akmal has smashed most sixes in the six seasons.
  3. Wahab Riaz is the highest wicket-taker of PSL. He needs six more to complete his century of wickets.
  4. Nobody has played more matches in the PSL than Kamran Akmal.
  5. Mohammad Nawaz has the most catches in the Pakistan Super League.
  6. Every team has won at least one tournament except Lahore Qalandars.

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