Pakistan Super League: Joyous time for cricket fans
Cricket fans watch a PSL match at Dubai Cricket Stadium
PSL is expected to do what Indian Premier League (IPL) did for young cricketers
An event and a decision taken last Thursday in Dubai brought a smile on the face of every cricket fan around the world. And, a teenage Sri Lankan spinner gave further joy with his ambidextrous skills in the ICC Under-19 World Cup.
An electrifying atmosphere at the Ring of Fire, as Dubai International Stadium is known, was enough to announce a new beginning for the Pakistan cricket last Thursday with the launch of the much-delayed Pakistan Super League (PSL). The stadium was not filled to the capacity but a sizeable number of fans took to their seats in the darkness purposely created for the LED-lit Opening Ceremony show.
The fans did not get the expected fireworks from batsmen after the show where LED bulbs lifted the mood and the most charismatic Wests Indian Chris Gayle danced along with Jamaican rapper to cheer the fans.
The PSL is expected to do what Indian Premier League (IPL) did for young cricketers. And, true to the expectations, an unknown young Pakistani spinner, Mohmmed Nawaz, made everyone notice the abundant raw cricketing talent that is available in Pakistan.
Since 2009, Pakistan haven't had international cricket in their country. Forget about playing with or against, young cricketers like Nawaz do not even get to watch international players live in action. Ergo, PSL, despite all the hiccups it has gone through in last two years, is definitely a new start for Pakistan cricket and it can only get better from here.
A day before the Pakistan cricket fans celebrated the T20 league launch, a few metres away, the International Cricket Council took an important decision to curtail powers of the 'Big Three'. The game's governing body has proposed to rescind a two-year-old decision to give England, Australia and India a bigger pie of the ICC revenue. The three had literally hijacked ICC under N. Sreenivasan, who had argued that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCCI) should get more funds as Indian generated most of the money in the game. With that, ICC had become an exclusive club for the big three.
A proposal has also been put forward to take up conflict of interests whereby the ICC Chairman could be barred from holding any position in his home board. Manohar has undertaken a praiseworthy work of undoing some of his predecessor's wrong decisions that had rendered ICC toothless and in the hands of 'Big Three'. England and Australia had no choice but give up their veto powers in the past. However, if BCCI relinquish their power and financial clout in ICC, then it will definitely be anew start and good for the smaller players in the game.
The progression is not only on the administration side but game is also evolving and a 17-year-old Sri Lankan finger spinner, Kamindu Mendis, has hogged the limelight at the ICC U19 World Cup in Bangladesh with his ambidextrous skill of bowling finger spin with both his hands.
He is not the first bowler to bowl with both hands. Way back in 1958, Pakistani right-arm off break bowler Hanif Mohammed had bowled left-arm when Garry Sobers hit his world record 365th run. Then in the 1996 World Cup Hashan Tilakaratne had bowled with both hands against Zimbabwe but in a game that was beyond doubt in Lanka's grasp. Then recently Akshay Karnewar made news with his ambidextrous ability while turning up for Vidarba in Indian domestic tournament.
But unlike the above named, Mendis bowled regularly with both his hands and surprised batsmen in the U19 World Cup.
Good entertaining times are coming for cricket, meanwhile, let's enjoy the slam-bang version of the game in PSL in Dubai.