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Inspired by the Sri Lankan Cricket Board’s recent initiative, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman, Ijaz Butt, today unveiled plans to launch a franchise based T-20 tournament, the Pakistan Premier League, that will apparently rival the IPL in scale, glamour, and money. The inaugural edition will feature 5 franchises – Karachi Killers, Multan Match Fixers, Sindhi Stone Pelters, Lahore Lunatics, and North-West Frontier Non-State Actors.
Interestingly, non corporate entities have outbid Pakistani corporate houses for the ownership of the potentially lucrative franchises. Dawood Ibrahim’s D Company is likely to own the Karachi Killers after paying a humungous sum. How humungous though is difficult to objectively quantify since most of the payment is in the form of heroin crates. “Yaar, I am sick of doing drugs, terrorism and financing B grade Bollywood flicks. Like Vijay Mallya, I too want to own a team, and a Pakistani starlet as the brand ambassador cum girlfriend for my son. It’s a great brand building opportunity for D company too” said an elated Dawood Ibrahim.
Lahore Lunatics may be bought by Lashkar-e-Toiba. Paraphrasing the great German military theorist, Clausewitz, LeT’s chief, Hafeez Saeed said “Owning a sports team is the continuation of jihad by other means. We want the Lahore Lunatics to win the PPL, and then kick CSK’s butt in the Champions League”.
In what the PCB describes as a ‘win-win deal’, North West Non State Actors has been bought for no cost by the Tehreek-e-Taliban. “In exchange for owning the North West Non State Actors, the Taliban have promised to not bomb any of the PPL matches. This in fact makes Pakistan the safest place to play cricket in the world now” said Ijaz Butt. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the MQM are in a bidding war to buy the Sindhi Stone Pelters, both claiming Sindh belongs to them. Multan Match Fixers is likely to be jointly owned by the ISI and a betting syndicate. The ISI is rumoured to have diverted US funds meant for fighting terrorism to finance the purchase. The ISI has neither confirmed nor denied this.
The auction for buying players will not follow conventional procedure. Multan match fixers will have first right of refusal for all players accused of match fixing or serving life bans. The Taliban owned NWNA can of course simply pick whoever catches their fancy. Players may be paid in cash, heroin, or goat-skins which will be tax exempt. In what the PCB describes as a cricketing innovation, match-fixing may be made completely legal in the PPL.
BCCI has not reacted very warmly to PCB’s proposal and has accused Lalit Modi of being behind this dubious venture to undermine the IPL.