By 2016 Pakistan is attempting to create a new Pakistan Super League, after professional cricket has declined over the last 10 years with no tests, ODIs or T20 matches in the country due to the concerns posed by terrorist organizations and the heightened security threat to the safety of the players.
Due to political tensions between India and Pakistan, cricket players from Pakistan have not been allowed to participate in the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is the most lucrative cricketing league in the world.
Pakistani cricketers have been frustrated for a number of years as the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was unable to run a successful T20 league in Pakistan nor work out a solution for them to participate in the IPL.
After a lot of planning and discussion, the PCB decided to launch a brand new T20 league in 2016 called the Pakistan Super League (PSL) .
The PSL will function as an individual unit where the participating teams will be owned and operated by the investors of the PSL. The PSL sold the early commercial rights for a period of 10 years starting from December 2015 to December 2025 for $93 million.
The PCL decided to host the PSL in the United Arab Emirates and signed up former Pakistani test captains Rameez Raja and Wasim Akram to be brand ambassadors for the PSL. The league officially kicked off on the 4th of February and will adhere to the rules and regulations outlined by the ICC.
Habib Bank Limited secured the right to be the title sponsors for the PSL for the next three years. Analysts estimate that the title sponsorship along with other sponsorship opportunities in the PSL to be around $6 million. Some of the other sponsors of the PSL include Qatar Airways, Hawei, Zong 4G, ZIC Lubricant Oil and Giggly Boom Boom Bubble.
The PCB awarded PTV Sports and Ten Sports the broadcast rights to telecast PSL matches for the first three seasons all over Pakistan. The official broadcasting rights were awarded to Sunset + Vine and will be valid for the next four seasons. The PCB has sold the global television rights to a United Arab Emirati group called Tech Front for three years.
The PSL matches will also be streamed in Pakistan through the PSL official YouTube channel and globally via cricketgateway.com. Views from the Middle East and Pakistan will not be allowed to access the cricketgateway website.
The first season officially kicked off in early February 2016 and is expected to finish before the end of the month with 24 matches, all played in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium .
PSL Format for 2016
The PSL will continue to host new seasons during this same time frame as it does not clash with other T20 leagues or a hectic international schedule which allows international players to take part in the PSL.
The PSL will feature a total of 5 teams during the first edition of the tournament and based on the success, the PLS could expand its team size to 10 teams.
While most cricketing leagues follow a private franchise model and an auction format where franchises bid for players, the PSL has decided to follow a different format.
The PSL has decided to use a draft day format which is similar to the United States’ National Football League. The list of players is split into five categories known as Emerging players, Silver, Gold, Diamond and Platinum. The first pick during Draft Day is decided based upon a ballot and involves 16 mandatory rounds during Draft Day and four optional rounds where the remaining players can still be picked.
The first three rounds will look at Platinum players, the next three to Diamond players, the next three to Gold rated players, the next five to Silver rated players and the final two rounds to the Emerging group of players. The first season of the PSL gave teams a budget of $1.1 million to pick their team and coach.
Unlike the auction system, the PSL has a fixed price for each category and will have to pick a minimum of 16 players and a maximum of 20 players per team. The team must spend a minimum of $985,000 if they pick 16 players but get to spend $1.1 million if they decide to pick 20 players.
Every team will have to pick a minimum of 7 Pakistani players out of which one of them can be from the emerging list of players. The teams are bound to pick 3 players from the platinum, gold and silver categories, five from the silver category and 2 from the emerging players’ category.
The first season of the PSL will be based on a double round robin format where each team plays each other twice and the top four teams qualify for a set of playoff games. The top two ranked teams play a qualifier, while the bottom two teams play an eliminator. The winner of the eliminator will take on the loser of the qualifier and the winner will play the winner of the first qualifier in a championship match. Should there be a tie during any of the matches; a final super over will decide the eventual winner.
*Read the cricket betting strategy to bet on the PSL.
PSL Teams for 2016
The five PSL teams for the 2016 edition have been named after five cities in Pakistan. They are:
This team is owned by Leonine Global Sports who paid $1.5 million to get their team together.
The team is captained by Pakistani captain Misbah-ul-Haq and is coached by former Aussie batsman Dean Jones.
Some of the top international players to represent United include Shane Watson, Andre Russell, Dwayne Smith and Brad Haddin.
The squad also features popular Pakistani players such as Mohammed Sami, Mohammed Irfan, Saeed Ajmal and Umar Amin.
Brand Ambassador Wasim Akram also serves as the director and bowling coach for United.
This team is owned by ARY Media group who paid $2.6 million to build their team.
The team is captained by former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik and is coached by South African Mickey Arthur.
The team has a number of well known international players such as Lendl Simmons, Ravi Bopara, T Dilshan and Shakib Al Hasan. Some of the prominent Pakistani players to represent the Kings include Fawad Alam, Mohammad Amir, Sohail Khan and Imad Wasim.
The bowling coach for the Kings is former Pakistani leg-spinner Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Majeed acts as the fielding coach.
The team is owned and managed by Qatar Lubricants Company which spent $2.5 million to put together their team. The Qalandars are captained by Azhar Ali and coached by Paddy Upton.
Some of the popular international players in the squad include Chris Gayle, Kevon Cooper, Dwayne Bravo, Ajantha Mendis and Cameron Delport.
There are also a number of well known Pakistani players such as Abdul Razzaq, Ehsan Adil, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood and Yasir Shah.
The batting coach is Ijaz Ahmed and the assistant coach is Shahid Aslam.
The team is owned and managed by Haier Pakistan who spent $1.6 million to get their team together. The Zalmi squad is captained by the dynamic Shahid Afridi and is coached by Mohammad Akram.
Some of the popular international players to feature in the squad include Darren Sammy, Brad Hodge, Tamim Iqbal and Shaun Tait. The featured Pakistani players include Kamran Akmal, Junaid Khan, Mohammed Hafiz and Wahab Riaz.
Andy Flower serves as the batting coach for Zalmi and Grant Luden serves as the fitness coach and fielding coach.
The team is owned and managed by Omar Associates who spent $1.1 million to get their team.
The Gladiators are captained by Sarfaz Ahmed and coached by ex-Pakistani wicketkeeper Moin Khan.
Some of the popular international players to represent the Gladiators include Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Grant Elliot, Kumar Sangakkara and Elton Chigumbura.
Some of the featured Pakistani players are Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Umar Gul, Aizaz Cheema and Zulfiqar Babar.
2016 PSL Facts
- Shane Watson injury cuts short his PSL stint
- Umar Akmal 93 runs in just 40 balls
- Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle selected as Icon Players for first edition of the PSL
 oneindia.com, PCB to launch Pakistan Super League T20 in February 2016, 2015
 espncricinfo.com, PSL Fixtures 2016, 2016