Lahore: The PCB is committed to launching its own domestic Twenty20 competition along the lines of the Indian Premier League next year despite Cricket South Africa's (CSA) refusal to reschedule Pakistan's forthcoming tour to the country. PCB chairman Zaka Ashraf told PTI that the Pakistan Premier League (PPL) will be played in March 2013 and a request has already been made to the chief patron of the board, President Asif Ali Zardari to allow a five-year tax exemption for the event.
"There is a lot of foreign and local investment involved in holding this event and I have already requested the President to allow us the tax exemption as the Pakistan League will create job opportunities and will be good for our economy and image," said Ashraf. "We just need a two-week window even though the Indian Premier League will also start from first week of April. We have already started groundwork for the project," he added.
Ashraf returned from Dubai this morning after attending a series of meetings in connection with the PPL. He said the PPL will feature five franchises consisting of 30 international players, with six each in every team. "We are targeting the big names of international cricket because their presence will boost the PPL and we are preparing a budget of millions for this. "The Sialkot sports industry is keen to buy a franchise, someone like Mian Mansha is also ready to have his own franchise. The local and expatriate business community in the UAE also wants in, so we are well prepared for the event," he said.
The PCB chief is keen on making the event an annual affair. "We have our own mechanism to hold the PPL but I can say that we have taken inspiration from the IPL. May be, one day the PPL franchise can be part of the IPL as well," he said. The chairman said the tax exemption has been sought to make the Twenty20 league a financially successful model till it became self-reliant and to ensure the top players could be paid competitive sums for coming to Pakistan.
He also hoped that the international cricket could be revived as early as next year following the successful staging of two exhibition matches in Karachi involving an International World XI and Pakistan All Star XI. For that to happen, Ashraf was commited towards providing best security measures to the overseas players. "We have set up our own anti-vigilance and security divisions and we are also in close contact with the government as far as security arrangements for the tournament is concerned," he said.
Ashraf added that the board would not haste in appointing the batting coach but insisted that it would be done before the tours to India and South Africa in December. Pakistan's former speedster Shoaib Akhtar had also offered his services as bowling coach of the national team earlier this year but the board instead opted for the lesser known Mohammad Akram, as he had completed coaching degrees in the UK.
Ashraf said the need of the times was to have qualified coaches. "My vision is to move Pakistan cricket forward and introduce a system of qualified coaches in the country who can help us fill the void between our domestic cricket and international cricket," he said.