Bring on ICL franchise to Pakistan

Indian Cricket League

Indian Cricket League

The cricket community generally belonging to the Australian and the European continent are reluctant to travel to Pakistan due to their absurd security concerns (as discussed earlier in my blog). Thus, depriving the fans here in Pakistan of much sought after cricket extravaganza. In fact, 2008 will go down in history as one of the “dead” years when no Test Cricket is played in Pakistan. Barring a few one day matches, the year has been a barren for Pakistan Cricket and a game-less season for the fans.

Meanwhile, just across the border, in India, a rebel cricket league is keeping the fans here in Pakistan glued to the Television screens. Indian Cricket League, or ICL is currently playing 20/20 style of cricket with some of the best talent from across the world  led by some of the greats of International cricket including Inzimam ul Haq, Abdul Razak, Saqlain Mushtaq (Pakistan), Damien Martin, Jason Gillespie (Australia), Brian Lara (West Indies), Marvin Attaputu (Sri Lanka), Murray Goodwin (Zimbabwe), Andrew Hall (South Africa) among many others. In fact, there is now a team from Pakistan called Lahore Badshahs and one from Bangladesh as well.

Now here is an idea. Let’s invite the teams from ICL to come and play competitive cricket here in Pakistan. In fact, let’s extend the tournament to include venues in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi among other cities and give us fans the chance to see some of the biggest cricket stars slug it out in the middle. Just because ICC sanctioned teams do not want to play cricket in Pakistan does not mean the ICL teams will not travel here. I bet, all of them will be here the moment they get a chance.

So let’s not wait and make this request immediately to Kapil Dev, the foremost Indian cricketer of yester-years and now CEO of ICL. So Mr. Kapil Dev, if you ever get to read this blog, then make it a point to discuss this option with the players and teams and expand your franchise right here inside Pakistan. We will welcome you with open arms. Heck, I am even ready to help organize it. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) may raise a few objections to such an event, but then again, when did ICL ever needed to ask anyone for permission to organize matches. Besides, PCB has failed to organize any serious cricket this year in Pakistan so their objections have no meat.

The second question is whether the sponsors will join in the bandwagon to make it a financial success? Of course! Already, Lahore Badshahs have Telenor (Pakistan’s second largest mobile operator) splattered all across their jerseys. And almost all major brands are advertising heavily on television (and any other medium possible) during the tournament as they all know and understand quite clearly, that Pakistani cricket fans love cricket and ICL is providing them with the a great opportunity to watch some competitive matches.

Cricket a great spectator sport with a following of over a billion worldwide. Every living person has a right to organize, play and watch this great game as they please regardless of any board, any country or any person.

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About Atif Mumtaz
A serial entrepreneur who loves to travel, discuss politics and hikes on weekends.

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