PCB proposes to start IPL like league in Middle East

Karachi: The Pakistan Cricket Board has got approval from the Presidency to launch a IPL like T20 league in middle east in association with Abdul Rehman Bukhatir.

Well placed sources in the government said PCB had sent a proposal to the sports ministry and Presidency for approval under which it would be partners with the Bukhatir group of companies in launching the league.

"President Asif Zardari who is also PCB chief patron has given his consent to the proposal," one source told PTI.

He said that the proposed major cricket league was slated to be launched around October, 2010 in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi .

"The concept is the same as the IPL. The major cricket league would have franchised teams around five or six who would be allowed to sign on and play overseas players," the source said.

He said initially the idea was to bid out the teams to interested franchises in Pakistan and perhaps the middle east.

He added because of security sitcuation in Pakistan the league could not be started in Pakistan but once the situation improves and teams start touring the country the league would also be held in Pakistan.

Another source said that Bukhatir, who is well known in cricket circles due to his bold Cricketers Benefit Fund Series (CBFS) venture in Sharjah, was keen on the MCL as Ten Sports the Dubai based channel would hold broadcasting rights for the T20 tournament.

"It is a big opportunity for Pakistan to do something on similar lines as the IPL. The former Chairman Nasim Ashraf had initiated the idea of a Pakistan Premier League but it didn`t work out because of the security conditions in Pakistan that is why the PCB has gone into a joint venture," the source said.

The PCB and Bukhatir would now work on getting clearance and support from the International Cricket Council and its member boards and try to find a window for the MCL later this year.

Bukhatir suspended the CBFS series in 2003 in Sharjah after the Indian Cricket Board stopped sending its team for the event which spanned over a decade.