PSL is Pakistan’s T20 league, which started in 2016, a much-needed project acknowledging Pakistanis’ passion and craze for cricket. Even though it has a short history, but the influence and engagement it has is overwhelming. Scheduled for three weeks, it begins in February, where each team plays a double round-robin format before the knockout stages. PSL started with five teams but now has six teams: Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Islamabad United, Lahore Qalandars, and Karachi Kings, with Multan Sultans as the latest team. Each team has a blend of local and foreign players, making the game more interesting to watch. Habib Bank Limited (HBL) owns PSL’s title sponsorship.
The year’s edition was suspended only after 14 matches, following a spate of Covid-19 cases among players and support staff. It has been decided to resume the season in Karachi in two and a half months’ time with the PCB offering two windows after revamping their coronavirus protocols, which have come under severe fire in the wake of the season stalling in very abrupt fashion. The window for the unfinished 2021 edition of the Pakistan Super League is likely to begin on May 23, with at least seven days of quarantine to start. The PCB had chalked out two options, with one involving double-headers every day from June 6 and a final on June 20, or to covers 16 group matches in 13 days.
Same happened last year, when because of COVID-19 the tournament was postponed at the knockout stages and continued again in November 2020. PCB once again discontinued the rest of the tournament after few cricketers were tested positive for the virus along with some other positive cases.
The idea of PSL emerged between 2007 and 2008 when Dr Nasim Ahsraf was the Chairman of PCB and it was seemingly inspired by India’s discontinued ICL and the successful IPL. Compared to IPL, PSL is a short-term league with six teams and a limited number of tournaments, which makes it exciting. IPL, on the other hand, gets annoying because of its long period. Ashraf’s idea of PSL was to hold the country’s league to revive international cricket in the country. In the initial years, the PCB then chose UAE as the venue because it had been hosting Pakistan’s international matches anyway and it took a few years to bring PSL home.
There is no doubt in the fact that Pakistan’s T20 league has arguably become the world’s second-most valuable and engaging league over the years.
While PSL has risen to become one of its kind, it has also helped Pakistan gain its positive image back. Foreigner players or foreigners at large did not have a positive image of Pakistan and assumed that it is not a safe country to visit. Last year, in 2020, when the entire PSL league happened in Pakistan, it broke that misconception. Total 34 matches were played in four venues, including Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Rawalpindi. The opening ceremony took place in Karachi. The playoffs were scheduled to take place in Lahore by the end of the year 2020, after being delayed for eight months due to the virus but were later shifted to Karachi. Bringing PSL home has paved the way for international cricket to come home. Pakistan hosted matches with Zimbabwe last year, making natives happier.
The idea of PSL has served the country more than one can imagine. It has now become something which the natives impatiently wait for throughout the year. It’s a much-awaited festival, just like Ramadan and the two Eid’s. PSL changed the worldview of Pakistan. It will undoubtedly attract more tourists when this Pandemic ends; hopefully, this will happen soon. Even if this Pandemic has affected this T20 league, it will surely come out in its full glory soon. PSL is more than just a cricket tournament in Pakistan.
Trophy Pakistan Super League (PSL)
PSL (Pakistan super league) is one of the biggest T20 league in Pakistan. It is the professional T20 cricket franchise league founded in Lahore on 9 September 2015, which was established by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).