The Pakistan Cricket Board will hold its first International Super League Twenty20 tournament from March 26 to April 7 this year but it is not clear whether any overseas players have agreed to participate in the event.
PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf said the response so far from the players and their agents contacted has been very good.
“We are hopeful that we will get a good turnout of overseas players for the Pakistan Super League,” he told the media at the logo unveiling ceremony of the league in Lahore.
Also present were the former ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat and the captains of the Pakistan ODI and T20 squads — Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez — besides other top Board officials.
Ashraf said Lorgat had been appointed advisor for the league and was also helping sign overseas players.
Lorgat said it was a good step taken by Pakistan to launch its own league as T20 cricket clearly had a bright future in the country.
“T20 cricket is getting popular by the day and every ICC member country has the right to host its own league. Pakistan has done hard work and I hope with foreign players’ participation the outside world will change its perceptions about the country,” Lorgat said.
The PCB is reportedly paying Lorgat a monthly retainer of USD 25,000 for his advisory job.
Ashraf also announced that around USD 100 million would go into hosting the league which would be contested by five franchises representing the main regions of the country.
“Each region will be allowed six overseas players, 10 local players and two emerging players. After the first three years they are plans to increase the teams as well,” he said.
Ashraf said the idea behind the league was to exploit the popularity of T20 cricket in Pakistan.
“The other purpose obviously is to show the world that it is safe enough to play in Pakistan. We are hopeful once the super league is held the doors will open for international cricket to return to the country,” he said.
No Test-playing nation has visited Pakistan since March, 2009 when terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killing six Pakistani policemen and a van driver and wounding five of the visiting players.
The dates of the league are such that the Pakistani players will go into it immediately after returning from a tour of South Africa.
Ashraf also said a proper secretariat had been set up to organise the league and look after all its issues which is headed by Sarwar Salman Butt, a banker by profession.
He said that leading business houses of the country had shown interest in buying the franchises and players would be signed through a bidding process to ensure that the event was also financially lucrative.