The fourth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) will get underway on Thursday and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani is excited to preside over the proceedings for the first time. This time many of the matches will be played in Pakistan including the knockout matches and the final.
In an interview with the Indian Express, Mani shared his views on the success of PSL and his thoughts about holding the entire tournament in Pakistan next season.
Mani mentioned that PSL has become a popular brand over the last three years and said,” The last three years have really helped build the PSL brand. And we expect it to be absolutely world-class again this year. We have got nearly 45 overseas players signed up for it. So it’s obviously popular.”
He also said that all of the foreign players have confirmed that they will play in Pakistan, “There are six franchises and all the overseas players for the franchises have confirmed that they are prepared to come and play in Pakistan. For the final leg, we are going to have eight matches in Pakistan this year. So it’s very good and positive. It’s a great pity that we can’t have Indian players playing because they are busy with their own. But I would love to have them on board.”
The BCCI doesn’t allow its players to play in any other T20 league in the world apart from IPL to protect the interests of the league. Ehsan Mani said, that he hopes that this stance changes in future, since many players from other nations, come and play in India and the same thing should be reciprocated.
He said, “Yeah, I appreciate that. I hope things will change over time. There are a lot of overseas players coming to play in India. So I think there should be some reciprocity there, but that doesn’t seem to be.”
Mani was also asked when Pakistan will host the PSL in its entirety. Mani said, “We are certainly going to try and hold the maximum (number of matches) next year if not all. We will do an assessment obviously after this PSL. It depends on a number of things. Obviously, Pakistan hasn’t hosted international cricket for many years. It only just (re-)started two years ago. So, we need to get some of our stadiums up to the level where we can host them. That’s the only limiting factor. The players seem to be happy to come. So, we don’t see an issue there. We should be able to do it by next year.”
Mani also talked about updated measures for the anti-corruption unit in the PSL.
He said, “The PCB now has a very, very robust anti-corruption regime. We have a very, very good player awareness programme, regular interface with the ICC and its anti-corruption unit. And with all our players coming into the game at the first-class level and the academies, they are tutored and mentored on anti-corruption. So in terms of awareness, the Board is doing everything that’s necessary I believe.”
Mani also shed light on Pakistan team’s preparations for the upcoming 2019 World Cup. He said, “Like the IPL, the PSL is helping the emerging players in terms of developing their skill. They are playing in front of big crowds and more importantly, they are playing with international stars. All of that helps develop the young players. If there’s any find (of the tournament), someone who does really well, then obviously that will have some influence (with regard to the World Cup squad selection).”
“We are playing five ODIs before the World Cup against Australia (in UAE) and five against England (in England); two very good opponents. That’s going to be our main preparation for the World Cup. Between now and the World Cup, we are playing 10 ODIs,” he added.
(Indian Express inputs)