PCB to launch Twenty20 league next year

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Lahore, Nov 9 (UNI) Taking a cue from its Indian counterpart, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to go ahead with its proposed Pakistan Premier League (PPL) which will be launched next year.

PCB chairman Nasim Ashraf confirming the development said PPL will be launched next year and it will have four foreign players in each team on the pattern of the English soccer league. Incidentally, the same format has been adopted by the BCCI-backed Indian Premier League (IPL).

''Altogether six teams, a mixture of local and international players, will be featuring in the event which we intend to stage in a trend setting manner,'' he said.

The PCB Chairman, talking to reporters after signing a sponsorship deal with an international bank for domestic cricket, said it would be made mandatory to include four local Under-21 players in the respective teams, giving the young players ample chance to showcase their talent.

The PPL will be a part of an international Twenty20 competition, approved by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

There will be total six teams, franchised to corporate groups, who will take part in the event.

The PCB chairman expressed his disappointment over ICC's decision to postpone the Women's World Cup qualifiers on security grounds which were to be held here from November 17.

''Our high profile cricket activities ahead include the tours by Zimbabwe and Australia next year and the PCB will provide top security to the visiting teams,'' he said.

Later, the chairman signed a sponsorship deal worth Rs 22 million with a prominent bank to sponsor the domestic cricket season 2007-08.

Talking about the deal Mr Ashraf said the sponsorship will help first-class cricket to become a competitive event and bridge the gap with international cricket.

He said it will be the first time that first-class domestic matches will get live coverage for 60 days. Highlighting PCB efforts for developing infrastructure, he said PCB would prepare nearly 300 grounds in next three years.

''This journey does not end because we are in a continuous struggle to have world's best infrastructure to engage our youth in cricket and to expand and strengthen the base of the game,'' he said.

UNI

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