IPL-like T20 tournaments mushrooming in Karachi

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/c/cricgeneric.jpg' class='caption'> Some former Pakistan players and enterprising individuals have initiated events modeled on the lines of the lucrative Indian Premier League tournament.

Updated: September 13, 2009 08:57 IST
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The Pakistan Cricket Board might not be hopeful about launching a smaller version of the Indian Premier League in the country but some former players and enterprising individuals here have already initiated events modeled on the lines of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament.

This year the holy month of Ramadhan has seen a mushrooming of Twenty20 tournaments in the city with some of them featuring franchised teams and guest players whose services have been obtained for good money.

One of the more popular tournaments, Dr Muhammad Ali Street Ramazan night tournament concluded on Friday night before a huge crowd with number of Pakistan players and upcoming stars featuring in both finalist teams, Go Ash and Umar Cricket club.

Interestingly, the Go Ash team was sponsored and bankrolled by a leading group that runs an adventure park here and is planning more branches in Pakistan while the Umar club is sponsored and financed by a businessman, Nadeem Umar.

Other participating teams were also franchised by companies and rich individuals and former Pakistan skipper Rashid Latif feels the Pakistan Cricket Board could launch a smaller version of the IPL in the country, if it wants.

"It is a new trend teams being sponsored and financed by companies and individuals. It is a new trend of top players getting well paid to play as guest players for these teams," Latif said.

The Dr Muhammad Ali Shah tournament also caught public imagination after the organisers entered into a deal with the only sports channel in Pakistan, Geo Super which telecast live the final 15 matches, including the knockout stage.

"When such matches are shown live then it means you will get more sponsors and companies willing to bankroll and finance teams in future tournaments," Latif said.

Latif is also organising his own T20 tournament but he has restricted the entry to registered club sides in a bid to revive club cricket in the city.

But Latif admitted that if broadcasters were keen and available to telecast live these tournaments he would definitely like to organise a tournament in which franchised teams and departments participate.

"There is money in Pakistan for cricket but those who spend their money want proper return and mileage and the live telecast of these Ramazan T20 events adds a new dimension to the sport in Pakistan," former Test player Jalaluddin said.

This year saw around six top Ramazan tournaments held in Karachi with top players earning well by appearing as guest players for franchised teams.

The Dr Muhammad Shah tournament even became a bone of contention between the organisers, broadcasters and the PCB after the latter refused to give permission to members of the Champions Trophy squad to play in local tournaments to avoid any injury problems.

"If the board had allowed the players to play we would have got more response for the semi-finals and final," Dr Shah said.

Tariq Raz, a top marketing man and cricket commentator made the point that if the PCB moved steadily it could itself soon introduce the culture of franchised teams playing in Pakistan's domestic cricket circuit.

"Why not it will happen slowly but it can happen. There is money in the market not comparable to India but definitely Pakistan can also host its own PPL with proper efforts," Raz said.

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