PSL mulls Kashmir team but franchises opposed to move

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LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is considering the prospect of adding another team to the Pakistan Super League with the possibility of the sixth team being named Kashmir, after the province of ‘Azad Kashmir’ in Pakistan.  The move looks unlikely, however, for different reasons: opposition from some of the current franchises on financial grounds and the potential for controversy given Kashmir’s sensitive status vis-a-vis India.

The current structure of the PSL comprises five teams whose names are derived from provincial capitals – Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta and Peshawar. According to a contract signed between the PCB and the franchises, the number of teams cannot be increased until the third edition. 

Sethi had tweeted last month: “My dream is to launch 6th Kashmir team in PSL this year. Hope our five franchisee partners will support me in this initiative.” Peshawar Zalmi team owner Javed Afridi supported Sethi’s initiative but the other teams were not as enthused. Sethi said Kashmir, Faisalabad, Sialkot and Gilgit-Baltistan were in the fray for the potential team. 

“We will not have [a new team] until the third year that is written,” Sethi confirmed in an exclusive interview with ESPNcricinfo. “But at the same time we are looking at the financials about the addition of a sixth team, in terms of whether it will be Kashmir, Faisalabad, Sialkot or Gilgit-Baltistan or any other team. That decision is pending. We have to weigh up the pros and cons and that’s the issue right now but we cannot have it until franchises agree. Without their consent we can’t make it.”

The opposition from the franchises is centered around the potential cut in their share from the central revenue pool. After the inaugural edition of the PSL, 70% of the revenue was split equally among the five franchises and the percentage would have been higher had the tournament been held in Pakistan instead of the UAE. Sethi said he was trying to convince teams that the addition of a sixth side would benefit them. 

“Of course we have to offer guarantee to the teams that they will be better by having a sixth team and have to convince them. I have my team working on different values and estimated profits and revenues before pitching this idea to them but this idea is definitely under consideration. Basically the advice from our finance department is that this is the high time to add sixth team as the values are very high at this stage before the second edition. We have to cash in the hype we have created from the first edition and this may or may go down next year.”

The PCB regulates the franchises and manages the day-to day-cash flow, bearing the cost of logistics and payment to foreign and local players to avoid any dispute. Sethi confirmed the spending cap of each franchise, currently placed at US$1.2m, has been increased by 10% for the second season.

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