The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have announced that they have had to cancel the Pakistan Super League (PSL) once again.
This is the second time in 18 months that the ambitious Twenty20 tournament has been called off. The PSL was initially shelved due to logistical problems, but this time, it has been cancelled due to poor franchise bids.
The PCB had been planning to hold the inaugural edition of the tournament, which would have featured five teams, between December 2014 and January 2015 in the United Arab Emirates.
Lack of interest
While there were six companies interested in bidding for the five franchises, only two - Haier and Aman Foundation - were able to provide a bank guarantee of US$3 million.
According to sources, the PCB had planned to open the bidding earlier this month, but, due to some undisclosed reason, they delayed it by 10 days. Following that, they decided to postpone it indefinitely.
"The PCB chairman [Shaharyar Khan] explained to the representatives of both the bidders as to why it had become extremely difficult to organise the inaugural PSL edition this year," the PCB said in a press release. "Chief among the reasons behind taking this decision was the paucity of lead time.
"The PCB Chairman thanked both the bidders on understanding the board's predicament, while communicating to them cancellation of the bidding process, simultaneously handing back the financial proposals, bid security and bid participation fee to the bidders unopened."
PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan stated that the board is still highly interested in holding the tournament, but will have to find a suitable window so that it can attract numerous international stars.
Down but not out
But, the PCB have to ensure that the tournament is held in a neutral venue like the United Arab Emirates due to the fact that no international teams have toured Pakistan since the Sri Lankan national team were ambushed by armed militants in Lahore in March 2009. The attack left six players injured and eight people dead, including six Pakistani policemen and two civilians.
"The PCB is committed to holding the PSL, and I hope that both Haier and Aman Foundation shall take part in the bidding when the tendering process is reinitiated shortly," Khan said via a statement. "The board meanwhile is finalising a window in the future tours programme, which affords it sufficient lead time to launch PSL well and make the event a success."
$100 million target
The idea of the PSL was first unveiled in January 2013, which was during Zaka Ashraf's reign as PCB chairman. He predicted that the PSL would have fetched the PCB "in excess of $100 million".
The PCB had also announced the base prices of players in preparation for an auction. They even claimed that numerous international players had already agreed to take part in the tournament.
However, as of right now, it seems that the PCB still have a lot of work to do if they want the PSL to become the next big domestic Twent20 tournament.
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