Shoaib Akhtar, the former Pakistan fast bowler, wants to own a team in the Pakistan Super League, a franchise-based T20 tournament to be held in February 2016. He had met the PSL head Najam Sethi on Monday afternoon and later explained his intentions to the media.
“Everyone is excited about PSL and so am I,” Akhtar said. “It’s like a gift to the nation; it’s not [just] the brand of PCB, it’s the brand of Pakistan. I am interested in buying a team in the league and want to serve Pakistan cricket this way by promoting cricketers and making more Shoaib Akhtars who can bowl at 100 (mph). My business partner and I are testing the waters; assessing whatever is put on table and how it suits us.”
Akhtar has in the past been a vocal critic of the PCB on matters regarding selection and the structure of domestic cricket in Pakistan. His meeting with Sethi has been viewed as a bid to make amends, but Akhtar brushed aside notions that his visit had been to take a PCB job.
“There are more ways to serve Pakistan cricket than taking a job at the PCB. You all know what kind of person I am. I might be critical at some point but my intentions are always positive and I want things to be right. By buying a team, I can offer the talented boys in my team a platform. [I can] make an academy and recruit the best possible talent in my team
“I might be very critical of the board on many things but I only want Pakistan to win. There is a lot of talent in our country but they need guidance. The PSL is a good initiative and we should support it. This is the product that can help us revive cricket in Pakistan.”
The Pakistan Super League will feature franchise-based teams from the provincial capitals – Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta and Islamabad – with prize money of $1 million. The full schedule is yet to be announced but the window between February 4 and 24 has been reserved for the 24-match event.
The PCB unveiled its preliminary plans for the PSL, including the announcement of Kevin Pietersen, Shakib Al Hasan and Dwayne Bravo as headline stars in a glitzy ceremony on Sunday night. The PCB is likely to hold an open auction for the five franchises and the broadcast rights for the tournament in November. The players, however, will be sold via a draft.