Karachi: The fifth edition of Pakistan Super League T20 tournament will be played entirely at home, according to Cricket Board (PCB) sources. As per PCB sources, the PSL Season 5 will be tentatively held from February 20 to March 22 next year with the final scheduled to be held in Lahore.
Since the launch of the league in early 2016, the PCB has organised majority of the matches in Dubai and Sharjah as foreign players were reluctant to travel to Pakistan because of security concerns.
But the PCB has managed to host the finals of the last three editions in Pakistan. In fact, the last eight matches of PSL 4 earlier this year, including the playoffs and title clash were held in Lahore and Karachi.
The PCB has also informed its franchises that when the players draft takes place sometime in November they must only sign on those overseas players who are willing to come and play in Pakistan.
Foreign players were also being informed directly that only those cricketers will be included in the draft, who have no problems in playing in Pakistan.
The PCB’s move to host the entire PSL in Pakistan next year has come after Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is also the patron-in-chief of cricket, said he wanted to see all matches of PSL Season 5 to be played at home as security situation had improved a lot in the country.
According to sources, the PCB has already started working on renovating and upgrading venues which will host the PSL matches. 11 games are scheduled in Lahore, nine in Karachi, eight in Rawalpindi and four in Multan.
A reliable source in the PCB said if the entire PSL is held in Pakistan, the PCB’s earnings from the league will increase dramatically as there would be more gate money and better sponsorship and corporate deals because of local interest.
The PCB, however, first needs to resolve some financial issues with its six franchises, who are now reluctant to give bank guarantees for the fifth edition and are also demanding a bigger share in the earnings from broadcast, title and other sponsorship revenues.