The PCB has begun an ambitious bid to launch a franchise-based T20 League for junior cricketers. To avoid a clash with the PSL economy, the proposed five-team tournament tipped to be the Pakistan Junior League (PJL) will have host cities that aren’t part of the PSL bandwagon.
The inaugural edition is slated to be held in October, with all the existing six PSL franchise being given the rights to acquire a franchise. The major hurdle, though, will be in obtaining a lucrative broadcast partner and tournament sponsors.
The PCB aims to pick players from the 15-19 age-group through a draft process. The board believes there is enough interest to attract a commercial sponsor, and is hopeful of furthering leveraging the property by roping in Pakistani legends as mentors and coaches.
“I am thrilled and excited that after days of hard work and planning, we have today released the Expression of Interest document for the Pakistan Junior League, the first-ever international league of its kind in the world,” PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja said in a statement.
“This will be a city-based league with players to be selected through a draft system involving international age-group cricketers. The PCB will create an environment of brilliance with legends and icons of the game sitting in player dug-outs in the roles of mentors and coaches, and broadcast coverage from the top draw.”
Pakistan’s domestic structure has been subject to constant shuffling over the years. The pathways for age-group players have mostly been structured from the Under-15s to the U-19 level. Junior players are currently exposed to one-day and three-day tournaments as part of their development. The addition of a T20 tournament is seen as a welcome step to improve their overall development.
“A young apprentice can be moulded into a genius with the right environment, which we intend to create in this format,” Ramiz said. “The PJL integrates very nicely with the PCB Junior Pathways Programme in which the PCB, through strategic partnerships, have provided contracts to 100 best cricketers who will now receive coaching from foreign experts, education at five-star institutions and monthly stipends of PKR 30,000 (USD 164 approx) each.
“Initiatives like the PJL are all about creating opportunities for cricketers, identifying the talent, nurturing them into world-class players and closing the gap between domestic and international cricket.”
Those interested to own teams and others keen on commercial partnerships at the event have a deadline until April 26 to submit their expression of interest.