The first edition of the PSL was a total blockbuster hit. Pakistanis owned their league big time, around 55% of the total TV watching population was stuck to their TV watching cricket, leaving behind their favorite prime time shows. In spite of being a humongous success, there is always some room for improvement and the organizers should learn from the minute mistakes. It was a great effort by the PCB and fans have enjoyed every bit of the tournament, however, here are three mistakes that I observed and need to be rectified in the future editions of the league.
Let’s begin from the very beginning. In strive to make PSL a global event; the organizers missed some basic notes in the process. First of all, there were hardly any highlights of Pakistani culture in the opening ceremony of the league. It would have been great if a local local group like, Pappu Sain’s group had performed with dhol in place of The Green Man Group from America. They were unable to engage the audience with their drum beating stunt. They must have charged a huge sum of money and was ineffective; instead, a dhol performance would have rocked the atmosphere to its core and represented Pakistani culture as well. Similarly, Sean Paul is undoubtedly a superstar, the world knows him, but, rap is just not the cup of tea for Pakistanis. It was evident that the only ones that were enjoying Paul’s performance was the bunch of guys from Caribbean and the rest were enjoying watching Gayle making his moves. Organizers need to have better plan next time.
The second aspect where PCB missed out was giving the due respect to our legends. There is no doubt that Chris Gayle, Shane Watson and Kevin Pieterson are one of the hottest properties in T20 leagues all over the world. But, the most elite players’ category must have had our own legends Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Misbah ul Haq and Saeed Ajmal. Ignoring Younis Khan completely from the PSL was also utterly disappointing, He is the World T20 winning captain and he had no role in the first ever edition of the local T20 league.
Pitches! The matches played on the pitches were not ideal for T20 cricket. All the matches that were played in Sharjah were low scoring. The highest score in the seven matches played in Sharjah was 153 by Quetta Gladiators against Karachi Kings in 17 overs while chasing. There is no doubt that there should be a balance between the bat and ball, cricket these days are highly in favor of the batsmen. But, as far as T20 cricket is concerned, especially the franchise cricket, it is all about fireworks from batsmen. Crowd comes to the stadium to see the ball flying in all parts of the ground; they don’t enjoy the ball spinning and beating batsmen every now and then. As Younis Khan has said “T20 cricket is all entertainment”. Hard hitting batting is the main ingredient for pulling crowd and for successful franchise cricket. Wickets should have been much more batting friendly.
Despite of these minor mistakes, Pakistan Super League took the whole world with storm. Irrespective of the gender, race, religion or age, the whole Pakistani nation was under the spell of PSL for 15 days. It somehow stimulated the lost love and passion for cricket in the country. People were talking about this tournament everywhere. Media played a wonderful in booming the popularity of the PSL. A houseful stadium on a foreign land, that too in franchise cricket matches is the proof of its success. I don’t recall any instance other than Pakistan vs India games that had complete sold out tickets on a neutral venue. This is how big PSL has become. At last, foreigners that were not involved practically in playing PSL, but there voice made it a hit. Pakistani nation surely wants to thank Tom Moody, Pat Symcox and especially Alan Wilkins, for his heartwarming attempts of speaking Urdu. At the end of the day, Islamabad United lifted the trophy, but Pakistan came out as the real winner! Fans are already excited for the second and improved edition of the PSL.