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December 7, 2017

PCB allows top Pakistani cricketers to play in dubious Indian-owned league

ISLAMABAD: The leadership of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), to favor a few individuals, has controversially allowed its contracted cricket players to play a dubious Indian-owned league in Sharjah this month, in a format which is not approved by the ICC. The decision is likely to slash PCB’s own successful Pakistan Super League’s worth.
Interestingly, India has not sent even a single player to the league in which, five out of six teams are owned by the Indian nationals while one has an Afghan owner. 

The PCB was in a hurry to issue NOCs to the players who had central contracts because the franchise owners of PSL had a severe reservation on sending players to a private Indian league. Upon getting such a strong and harsh response from the PSL franchise owners, seniors at the PCB who had first opted for voting on the issue later preferred tweeting the decision of supporting the T-10 league. 

Cricket observers equate this decision as a suicide mission of PCB for the PSL because with the inclusion of Pakistan’s 1st tier players, the worth of T-10 League has increased manifold and it would become a mini PSL ahead of the main PSL. 

Many eyebrows have been raised why the standard procedure has not been adopted with taking such a big step for Pakistan cricket. When did the invitation come from the UAE? How did the PCB treat it? Was any evaluation conducted on sending or not sending Pakistani players to a private owned Indian league? Was a value assigned to permitting Pakistani players and was that a market value open to others bidders? What benefit the PCB will attain after sending senior players to the T-10 league? Was the issue discussed in the Board of Governors of PCB? Why was voting not held when promised by PCB before the PSL franchise owners? Has PCB been given any favor by the T-10 league organizers? 

The PSL franchise owners are feeling uneasy at PCB’s decision because the T-10 league is being held ahead of PSL and it is aimed at undermining the PSL which has now become a brand. The T-10 league is being held at the same venue where Pakistan plans to hold PSL and allowing Pakistani players without any evaluation would only undermine the value of PSL. 

Earlier on September 4 2017 the representatives of PSL franchise Karachi Kings had written an email to Chairman PCB saying that the franchises would like to express concern that such leagues will have an impact on PSL and will jeopardize our existing and potential sponsors in Dubai and even in Pakistan since “we all agree to point that November and December are the crucial months for us to finalise the sponsors. In this regard, we would request you kindly look into this matter and take some possible action to restrict the tournament like not allowing Pakistani players to participate and play in this league.” 

The News Investigation cell through multiple sources has seen emails and minutes of PSL Secretariat and confirmed through PCB and PSL franchise owners account the unanimous protest of all the franchise owners. 
Records show that Peshawar Zalmi representative had said, PCB had produced wonderful players through the PSL why should PCB risk throwing the players in an unregulated league where India has not sent its single players; our players might be trapped and blackmailed. Franchise owners had noted that PCB is unable to explain what benefit it has negotiated while making such a controversial decision? “Have the bilateral series between India and Pakistan has been revived?” questioned the franchise owners. 

Representatives of Lahore Qalanders had noted at the PCB meetings that PCB had assured them that the decision to send Pakistani players would be done through voting on the issue but later instead of voting, PCB announced the decision of sending Pakistan players to the T-10 league. The franchise representatives of Multan and Islamabad had maintained that the PCB was given choices that Pakistan may send its retired players or second-tier players but not the one produced by PSL and main stars, but all suggestions fell on deaf ears. Records show that one franchise owners had said, “With such huge Indian funding in the T-10 league, it is most likely that Pakistani players would be trapped and later blacked mailed by the bookies to manage them in the PSL. “T-10 league is actually a bookies’ gateway for PSL and it is not recognized or regulated by ICC”. 

When contacted, the owners of PSL franchise refused to go on record fearing PCB wrath against them and their contract adding that, “Our official reservations and feedback is with PCB and PSL secretariat.” 

Details reveal that T-10 League is owned by a Dubai based company owned by Indian millionaire who has no background in sports. The T-10 league would have been worthless had it been played san Pakistani players and Pakistan players were only allowed after one of the franchise owners of PSL got some share in the T-10 league, thus ‘forcing’ the PCB to make a dubious decision, not to the liking of other franchise owners an