Several PSL franchises have embarked on a warpath with the UAE-based T10 league, writing a letter to the PCB chairman Ehsan Mani to express alarm at the encroachment of the T10 league into what they consider their territory.
The letter, which ESPNcricinfo has obtained a copy of, “highlights serious concerns”, and among other things, asks that the PCB prevent its players from participating in the league. The PSL franchises ask the board to prevent the use of names of Pakistani cities in franchises that will play the T10 League. The letter also claims the “promotional activities of these teams in the heartlands and territories of PSL teams” may damage the PSL teams’ reputation, divert their sponsors and draw away their fan base.
The letter, which ESPNcricinfo understands all but one of the six PSL franchises are in agreement upon, requests the PCB to announce publicly that the cricket board has not authorised the T10 League. In addition, they have requested the PCB to prevent the T10 League from seeking sponsorships in Pakistan.
The recurring theme throughout the letter is the signatories seeking to prevent the Emirates T10 cricket League taking on names such as Karachians, Pakhtoon and Punjabi Legends. Terming it “a mean attempt by a foreign entity to target Pakistani cricket viewership market despite the fact that the T10 Cricket League has no indigenous affiliation with Pakistan or people of Pakistan”, they warned the PCB such actions needed to be nipped in the bud before it was too late and the “menace of foreign cricket leagues” had encroached on Pakistan’s domestic structure.
Last year, the T10 was under agreement not to use the Pakistan market for sponsorship, and the organisers were not seen promoting the league in Pakistan. The biggest concerns among PSL franchises is the commercial market in Pakistan will be exhausted ahead of the PSL, which starts in the second week of February next year. The franchises fear the league hurts their brand, and is a potential threat to the value of the PSL itself. Similar concerns were also raised last year.
Mani earlier raised concerns over the league’s ownership patterns and sponsorship and revoked the NOCs to 17 players selected in draft last month in Dubai. The organisers however, have to shell out a flat fee of US$ 600,000 to the PCB for the NOCs, which will be dealt with on a “case-to-case basis”. In addition, the PCB will also deploy their own integrity officers to monitor the tournament.
PCB’s apprehension had stemmed from former T10 League president Salman Iqbal pulling out, citing a lack of “transparency and proper systems and monitoring”. Iqbal, the owner of the ARY Media Group and the Pakistan Super League’s second-most expensive team, Karachi Kings, struck a deal with UAE-based businessman Shaji ul Mulk to launch the league last year.
Months before the second season, he resigned from the position of president on September 19, and disassociated himself from all its operations. His presence in the league was a major pull factor for Pakistan players, and several nationally contracted players were roped in. The second edition is set to run from November 21 to December 2. Prominent players like Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum and Andre Russell have committed to taking part this season.
Even last year, majority of the franchises had raised concerns, and initially last year the PCB wasn’t even willing to allow its players to take part since it clashed with the commercial interests of the PSL in the UAE. But Iqbal, despite having a stake in the PSL, managed to convince the then PCB chairman Najam Sethi to let them participate.