Forgotten heroes of league cricket

Forgotten heroes of league cricket, Leagues across the world brings color, joy and money to the sports particularly in Cricket. Cricket leagues have changed the dynamics of the game, which was once considered to be a boring flat day sport standing in the sun whole day and waiting that the ball might comes to you some time of the day so you would throw it back to the keeper is now cruising at a pace like Usain Bolt. The great game of cricket have legends without whom it was impossible that leagues will flourish in the modern era, facing the critics (Most of them were classical test match lovers), Match fixing scandals etc etc. But for sure the sub continent has two legends Najam Sethi & Lalit Modi.

League system in sports was introduced in 1876 when a Chicago businessman William Hulbert formed National league of professional Baseball clubs. Since then it has become a success and off course a major source of making the sports a commercial product.

Football was also amongst those sports who adopted the league system very early. It was in 1888 when 12 clubs decided to create a professional football league, the journey is on going in the modern era as well from Manchester United to Mumbai Indians or from Washington Nationals to Peshawar Zalmi.

The gentleman’s game of Cricket has his own history of leagues but it became a big commercial product after the invention of T20 Cricket. In the 1st decade of 21st Century ICC formally announced the third version of the game which is fast, entertaining and off course a huge commercial success. Who would have thought that cheer leaders will be dancing for a cricket ball that crosses the boundary line & a strike rate of 100 will be considered too outdated. The due credit not much given goes to the administrators, chairman’s of the T20 leagues as well who turned around the game.

With the commencement of IPL in 2008 which comprised of 8 teams in 2008 was ranked 6th by average attendance amongst all sporting leagues. The brand value of IPL in 2019 was US$6.7 Billion.

IPL was a big success so we witnessed many other T20 leagues started across the globe but as the cricket has its own style and free fall rhythm in the most populated part of the world so a league was planned to be started by PCB in 2012. Various attempts were made but all ideas couldn’t come into physical existence due to a terrorist attack in Lahore on SriLankan Cricket Team in 2009. But the love for the game was there amongst the 180 Million Pakistanis, which laid the foundation of PSL in 2015 compromising of 5 teams which was worth US$ 300 Million (As per Arif Habib) in 2017.

As PSL is already started on 20 Feb 2020 it will be unjust not to mention Najam Sethi under whose chairmanship the PSL was started. It was a stiff task but he made PSL a product along with his team and he will be so proud that the PSL will be played fully on local soil in front of the local audience in Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi & Multan this year. But that’s the dilemma of the world that we often forget the champs. It’s not only in the case of Najam Sethi(PSL), this goes on to IPL’s Lalit Modi as well but as cricket has become a rock star from a gentleman so life goes on.

Written by Shabbir Tareen who is in love with the game

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