Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has plans of taking the franchise cricket to the age group level, by announcing an Under-19 version of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). To be called Pakistan Junior League, the franchise-based league, a first at the age-group stage, envisages being the watering hole for the junior cricketers of the world.
“It is primarily aimed at providing exposure to the youngsters in an environment of competition, opportunity and professionalism,” Ramiz Raja, the chairman of the PCB, told on Friday (April 15). “They will be able to compete with the best in their peer group, will be coached by the best in the world and will have the best international stars in the dugout.”
Ramiz’s target is to launch the first edition in a few months, likely in October 2022, and it will be a five-team championship with every side having the legends as mentors. “What else a young cricketer would want than an environment of brilliance and excellence. We will have a draft system which will ensure high earnings for the youngsters,” he revealed. “Each team will have a mentor of the stature of Viv Richards.” The league is expected to last about 15 days.
According to the PCB boss, the international boards have been sounded out and all of them are receptive to the idea. “Planning for this had been going on for quite some time, we have bounced the idea to our ICC colleagues during recent meetings in Dubai and they seemed quite interested in the project,” the former Pakistan captain said.
There was a policy in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) not to allow age group players to Twenty20 cricket but Raja said he does not see any oddity in the initiative. “They will get exposure to the pressure situations and will know how to perform — score runs and takes wickets – in such a demanding environment. When they graduate to the senior grade cricket, they will have been used to such match situations,” Ramiz explained saying each player will be allowed an escort of a parent with him. “We will make future stars of world cricket at Pakistan Junior League.”