Karachi: A cold response from the Emirates cricket board has left PCB struggling to find a suitable venue for its planned international Twenty20 League in February next year.
A PCB official told PTI on Friday that efforts to convince the ECB and the organisers of an international Masters league in the UAE to give priority to Pakistan Cricket Board's own T20 league had failed to draw a positive response.
"The project head of the Pakistan International T20 League Sarwar Salman Butt and another senior official Usman Wahla have now gone to Doha in Qatar to explore the possibility of holding our league there next February," he said.
He confirmed that the organisers of the Masters League had booked Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi as venues for their inaugural event, whose dates clashed with the PCB's franchise based league.
A well-placed source said when PCB officials went to Dubai recently to meet with the chief organiser of the Masters event, a Pakistani businessman Zafar Shah and the officials of the ECB and they met with a cold response.
"The PCB was under the impression that since it has made the UAE virtually its second home for hosting international series the Emirates cricket officials would give them priority. But apparently the ECB went ahead and signed a deal with the Masters League organizers without even bothering to take the PCB into confidence," he said.
On other hand Zafar Shah and the ECB claim that the PCB came up with the plan to launch its international T20 league very late when a deal had already been inked for the Masters League.
"Shah told PCB officials that they had already got approval from the International Cricket Council to hold the Masters League which will involve around 100 former greats and internationals including Wasim Akram and Brian Lara," the source disclosed.
In this situation the PCB is now looking at Doha as the
next possible option to launch its league since Qatar has a large number of Pakistani and South Asian expatriates.
"The truth is the PCB is in a tight spot over finding a suitable venue since it has already spent millions of rupees on hiring an international sports consultancy and management firm to prepare a report on the feasibility holding a five team franchise based T20 league with overseas signings," the source said.
He didn't deny that the PCB was now thinking on lines that if the event is not held in UAE and somewhere else it would like to have the final in Lahore. For PCB the situation is more worrisome since already twice before it has dropped plans to host its T20 league.
Pakistan have been forced to play its international home series in the UAE since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009 after which Test teams have refused to tour Pakistan due to security reasons.