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The Need For Champions League & a T20 League Calendar

A new “Ninety-90 Bash” league has been sanctioned in the UAE.

PSL finished its post-COVID leg of the tournament, and the IPL will soon have its post-COVID leg in the UAE ending just a few days before the T20 World Cup begins. The BCCI has even proposed a 10-team IPL or two IPLs in a year from next year.

Where does this stop? T10 & T20 leagues are popping left and right. Tournaments beginning, stopping, and resuming whenever they feel like. What is the result? Debatable rotation policies, career-threatening injuries, early retirements, and players choosing leagues over international cricket.

Also Read: Babar Azam, Rizwan, Shaheen: The Case for Pakistan Players In the IPL, The World Is Back In the Cricket World Cup

Champions League – What Went Wrong ?

Champions League T20 (CLT20) was an intriguing experiment held between 2009-2014 that unearthed stars like Kieron Pollard. Modeled on European football, what could possibly go wrong when the best T20 teams in the world competed together?

Yet, even with such good intentions, the tournament failed—Cluttered international calendar, revenue shortfall, growing success of the IPL, and the initial failure of other leagues were prominent factors.

The strength of the IPL contract meant that if a player represented multiple teams that qualified, they would be obligated to play for their IPL team.

By 2013-14, it was evident that the Indian Premier League was miles ahead. In 2013 (MI vs RR) & 2014 (CSK vs KKR) editions, both finalists were IPL teams. In 2014, 3 out of the 4 semifinalists were IPL teams (KXIP). The domestic teams from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka, and South Africa failed to get this far after a decent show between 2009-2012.

CLT20 catered towards the IPL, and that is why it failed.

Why is the Revival of the Champions League Needed?

Seven years later, it is time to rethink the T20 calendar. The Big Bash is now a decade old. CPL & BPL are 8 years strong. PSL is 5 years old, and even Sri Lanka, South Africa, and England have formed stable leagues.

Half a decade ago, there were just a few T20 specialists—Brendon McCullum, Brad Hodge, AB De Villiers, Yusuf Pathan, and the World Cup winning West Indies generation. Now we have T20 specialists everywhere like Babar Azam, Tom Banton, Finn Allen, Dawid Malan, Tim Seifert, Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, James Vince, Alex Hales, Paul Stirling, David Wiese, Rovman Powell—talented players that do not make the XI or even squads of the IPL teams.

Last year, Trinbago Knight Riders were undefeated to their CPL title –12 consecutive wins. Imagine a TKR versus Mumbai Indians Champions League battle? Will be a cracker of the contest if it is a fair contest—Which team does Trinbago’s captain Pollard play for?

How Can The International and T20 Calendar Coexist?

Here are some possible solutions:

  1. If the player is contracted by a national team, they should be obligated to represent their domestic T20 league in case of a conflict. Hence, Pollard would play for TKR instead of MI.
  2. For a nationally contracted player, maximum of 3 leagues per year should be enforced. This would keep conflicts to a minimum.
  3. Boards should accept responsibility and postpone the league till next year’s window in case the league is suspended.

This would lead to an interesting mix of international players in the leagues. Since NZ/Australia do not play much between June-October, players might choose IPL-the Hundred/CPL-BBL, while English players might choose PSL-IPL-The Hundred.

The Ideal Cricket Calendar

ICC has announced its tournament calendar for the next eight years. Each year, either a T20 WC, ODI WC, World Test Championship Final, or Champions Trophy will occur. A couple of months should be sidelined as the pinnacle of the international calendar.

Here is how the T20 calendar stands so far:

CountryTournamentMonthsYears
Bangladesh Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)January – February 2012-
PakistanPakistan Super League (PSL)February – March2016-
IndiaIndian Premier League (IPL)March – May2008-
CanadaGlobal T20 Canada (GT20)June – July2018-
England T20 Vitality Blast July – September 2003-
EnglandThe HundredJuly – August2021-
West IndiesCaribbean Premier League (CPL)August – September2013-
AfghanistanShpageeza Cricket League/
Afghanistan Premier League (APL)
September – October2013-
2018-
United Arab Emirates (UAE)T10 LeagueNovember – December2017 –
Sri LankaLanka Premier League (LPL)November – December2020-
South AfricaMzansi Super League (MSL)November – December2018-
New ZealandSuper SmashDecember – January2005-
AustraliaBig Bash League (BBL)December – February 2011 –

If the Champions League needs to be revived, September-October is an ideal month subject to the dates of world tournaments that year.

The debate between T20 leagues and international cricket is over. The leagues are here to stay, so why not coexist in a peaceful manner? At the moment, everything is disorganized, so why not organize it for the greater good of cricket.

Champions League History (2009-2014)

YearHost# of Teams
(# of Nations)
WinnersRunners-UpTeams
2009India12 (7)New South Wales (AUS)Trinidad and Tobago (WI)New South Wales, Victorian Bushrangers (AUS)
Sussex Sharks, Somerset Sabres (ENG)
Deccan Chargers, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Daredevils (IND)
Otago Volts (NZ)
Cape Cobras, Diamond Eagles (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
Wayamba (SL)
2010South Africa10 (6)Chennai Super Kings (IND)Warriors (SA)Victorian Bushrangers, Southern Redbacks (AUS)
Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND)
Central Districts Stags (NZ)
Warriors, Highveld Lions (SA)
Wayamba Elevens (SL)
Guyana (WI)
2011India10 (5)Mumbai Indians (IND)Royal Challengers Bangalore (IND)Southern Redbacks, New South Wales Blues (AUS)
Somerset (England)
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Warriors, Cape Cobras (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2012South Africa13 (8)Sydney Sixers (AUS)Lions (SA)Perth Scorchers, Sydney Sixers (AUS)
Yorkshire Carnegie, Hampshire Royals (Eng)
Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Auckland Aces (NZ)
Sialkot Stallions (Pak)
Highveld Lions, Titans (SA)
Uva Next (SL)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2013India12 (7)Mumbai Indians (IND)Rajasthan Royals (IND)Brisbane Heat, Perth Scorchers (AUS)
Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad (IND)
Otago Volts (NZ)
Faisalabad Wolves (PAK)
Kandurata Maroons (SL)
Highveld Lions, Titans (SA)
Trinidad and Tobago (WI)
2014India12 (7)Chennai Super Kings (IND)Kolkata Knight Riders (IND)Perth Scorchers, Hobart Hurricanes (AUS)
Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians (IND)
Northern Knights (NZ)
Lahore Lions (PAK)
Dolphins, Cape Cobras (SA)
Southern Express (SL)
Barbados Tridents (WI)

Image Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo

Copyright @Nitesh Mathur, Broken Cricket Dreams 06/24/2021. Email: bcd@brokencricketdreams.com

Pakistan Super League 2021 (PSL 6): Everything You Need To Know Quickly—Teams, Fixtures, & Predictions

Pakistan Super League 2021 is back once again!

Yes everybody, just 4 months after Karachi Kings lifted the PSL trophy (due to COVID interruption), we are back at it. Pakistan Super League 2021 is already making some noise—with “Groove Mera” anthem, entire tournament held in Pakistan, and the allowance of 20% crowd capacity.

With a Pakistan limited overs side on the rise and the upcoming T20I World Cup later this year, PSL 6 has additional context, both for Pakistani players and international recruits wanting to prove a point.

Babar Azam Vs Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Rizwan Vs Faheem Ashram, Hasan Ali Vs Haider Ali

These are just some of the in-form star players that will be on show. Talent galore and good cricketing all around.

Here is a quick summary of everything you need to know about the PSL 6: Teams, Dates, Fixtures, Coaching Staff, Commentators, predictions, and more!

Quick Summary

  • Matches: 34 (6 teams, 10 matches each, double round robin, top 4 qualify for playoffs)
  • Teams: Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators
  • Dates: February 20th- March 22nd
  • Venues: Gaddafi Stadium (Lahore), National Stadium (Karachi)
  • Commentators/Presenters: Pommie Mbangwa (Zimbabwe), Alan Wilkins (Wales), Simon Doull, Danny Morrison (New Zealand), David Gower, Dominic Cork (England), Rameez Raza, Zainab Abbas, Urooz Mumtaz, Sana Mir, Bazid Khan, Sikander Bakht, Tariq Saqeed (Pakistan)

History

  1. Islamabad United: 2016, 2018 (Won), 2019 (3rd), 2017 (4th), 2020 (6th)
  2. Peshawar Zalmi: 2017 (Won), 2018, 2019 (Runners Up), 2016 (3rd), 2020 (4th)
  3. Quetta Gladiators: 2019 (Won), 2016, 2017 (Runners Up), 2018 (4th), 2019 (5th)
  4. Karachi Kings: 2020 (Won), 2017, 2018 (3rd), 2016, 2019 (4th)
  5. Lahore Qalandars: 2020 (Runners Up), 2016, 2017 (5th), 2018, 2019 (6th)
  6. Multan Sultans: 2020 (3rd), 2018, 2019 (5th) (*Franchise did not exist before 2018 season).

PSL 6: Teams & Expected Playing XI

With Australia’s T20I tour of New Zealand, Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies, Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand, and the limited overs leg of India vs England, there are several players who withdrew or will be only staying for a short time.

*Teams highlighted in their respective jersey colors

Islamabad United

  • Pakistan Internationals: Shadab Khan (C), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Ifthikhar Ahmed, Muhammad Musa, Zafar Gohar
  • Pakistan Domestic: Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Mohammad Wasim, Rohail Nazir, Zeeshan Zameer
  • Foreign Recruits: Ali Khan (USA), Fawad Ahmed (Australia), Alex Hales, Lewis Gregory, Phil Salt (England), Paul Stirling (Ireland)

*Withdrawn: Reece Topley (England), Chris Jordan (England), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Akif Javed

Coaching Staff: Johan Botha (Head Coach), Saeed Ajmal (Assistant coach), Rumman Raees (Bowling Coach), Corey Rutgers (Fielding Coach)

I am looking forward to the impact of the openers, in-form Faheem Ashraf, and the Alis. Hasan Ali + Ali Khan = ENERGY & wickets (Asif Ali, the hitter as well).

Islamabad United Expected XI:

  1. Alex Hales, 2. Paul Stirling, 3. Rohail Nazir (WK), 4. Asif Ali, 5. Hussain Talat, 6. Ifthikhar Ahmed, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Faheem Ashraf, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Ali Khan, 11. Fawad Ahmed

Karachi Kings

  • Pakistan Internationals: Imad Wasim (C), Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Aamer Yamin, Sharjeel Khan, Waqas Maqsood (1 T20I)
  • Pakistan Domestic: Abbas Afridi, Arshad Iqbal, Danish Aziz, Mohammad Ilyas, Qasim Akram, Zeeshan Malik
  • Foreign Recruits: Daniel Christian (Australia), Joe Clarke (England), Colin Ingram (South Africa), Mohammad Nabi, Noor Ahmad (Afghanistan), Chadwick Walton – WK (West Indies)

Coaching Staff: Wasim Akram (Bowling Mentor), Herschelle Gibbs (Head Coach), Dougie Brown (Assistant Coach), Faisal Iqbal (Batting Coach)

I am looking forward to the middle order of Nabi-Christian-Wasim. Babar Azam and Colin Ingram are pretty strong, but if they fail for once, it will all depend on the senior middle order.

Karachi Kings Expected XI:

  1. Babar Azam, 2. Colin Ingram, 3. Sharjeel Khan, 4. Chadwick Walton (WK), 5. Mohammad Nabi, 6. Daniel Christian, 7. Imad Wasim (C), 8. Aamer Yamin, 9. Mohammad Amir, 10. Waqas Maqsood, 11. Arshad Iqbal

Lahore Qalandars

  • Pakistan Internationals: Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf
  • Pakistan Domestic: Sohail Akhtar (C), Agha Salman, Ahmed Danyal, Dilbar Hussain, Maaz Khan, Muhammad Faizan, Muhammad Zaid, Zeeshan Ashraf
  • Foreign Recruits: Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), David Wiese (South Africa), Joe Denly, Samit Patel, Tom Abell (England), Ben Dunk -WK (Australia)

Coaching Staff: Aaqib Javed (Head Coach), Mansoor Rana (Batting Coach), Shahzad Butt (Fielding Coach)

I am looking forward to the international contingent—Ben Dunk, Samit Patel, David Wiese, and Rashid Khan. David Wiese was instrumental to Qalandars’ runners up campaign last time around, and the same is expected this season.

Lahore Qalandars Expected XI:

  1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Sohail Akhtar (C), 3. Mohammad Hafeez, 4. Ben Dunk, 5. Samit Patel, 6. David Wiese, 7. Rashid Khan, 8. Haris Rauf, 9. Shaheen Shah Afridi, 10. Dilbar Hussain, 11. Muhammad Faizan

Multan Sultans

  • Pakistan Internationals: Mohammad Rizwan (C), Shahid Afridi, Shan Masood, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir, Khusdil Shah, Sohail Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Imran Khan
  • Pakistan Domestic: Mohammad Umar, Shahnawaz Dhani, Sohaibullah
  • Foreign Recruits: Imran Tahir, Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Chris Lynn (Australia), Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies), Adam Lyth, James Vince (England)

Coaching Staff: Andy Flower (Head Coach), Azhar Mahmood (Fast Bowling Coach), Mushtaq Ahmed (Spin Bowling Coach), Richard Halsall (Fielding Coach), Nathan Leamon (Director of Strategy)

I am looking forward to the top order of Lynn-Rizwan-Vince and the leg spinners. With Usman Qadir, Shahid Afridi, and Imran Tahir, anything is possible.

Multan Sultans Expected XI:

  1. Chris Lynn, 2. Mohammad Rizwan (C/WK), 3. James Vince, 4. Rilee Rossouw, 5. Sohaib Maqsood, 6. Shahid Afridi, 7. Carlos Brathwaite, 8. Sohail Tanvir, 9. Sohail Khan, 10. Usman Qadir, 11. Imran Khan

Peshawar Zalmi

  • Pakistan Internationals: Wahab Riaz (C), Shoaib Malik, Haider Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal (WK), Mohammad Irfan
  • Pakistan Domestic: Abrar Ahmed, Amad Butt, Mohammad Amir Khan, Mohammad Imran (right arm all rounder), Mohammad Imran (left arm medium-fast), Umaid Asif
  • Foreign Recruits: David Miller (South Africa), Ravi Bopara, Saqib Mahmood, Tom Kohler-Cadmore (England), Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan), Sherfane Rutherford (West Indies)

*Withdrawn: Liam Livingstone (Withdrawn)

Coaching Staff: Darren Sammy (Head Coach), Hashim Amla (Batting Coach), Arshad Khan (Team Manager)

I am looking forward to the finishing power. If the top order can set the platform, Shoaib Malik, David Miller, and Ravi Bopara can be a handful.

Peshawar Zalmi Expected XI:

  1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Haider Ali, 3. Kamran Akmal (WK), 4. Shoaib Malik, 5. David Miller, 6. Ravi Bopara, 7. Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 8. Saqib Mahmood, 9. Wahab Riaz, 20. Mohammad Irfan, 11. Umaid Asif

Quetta Gladiators

  • Pakistan Internationals: Sarfaraz Ahmed (C/WK), Anwar Ali, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Usman Shinwari, Zahid Mahmood (1 T20I)
  • Pakistan Domestic: Azam Khan, Arish Ali Khan, Abdul Nasir, Hassan Khan, Saim Ayub, Usman Khan
  • Foreign Recruits: Chris Gayle (West Indies), Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, Cameron Delport (South Africa), Tom Banton (WK) (England), Ben Cutting (Australia), Qais Ahmed (Afghanistan)

Coaching Staff: Moin Khan (Head Coach), Viv Richards (Batting Coach), Umar Gul (Bowling Coach), Julian Fountain (Fielding Coach)

I am looking forward to see how the Umar Gul mentored team with international stars like Dale Steyn and Ben Cutting is going to impact the likes of Naseem Shah & Mohammad Hasnain.

Quetta Gladiators Expected XI:

  1. Chris Gayle, 2. Faf du Plessis, 3. Tom Banton/Cameron Delport, 4. Azam Khan, 5. Sarfaraz Ahmed (C/WK), 6. Ben Cutting/Dale Steyn, 7. Anwar Ali, 8. Naseem Shah, 9. Mohammad Hasnain, 10. Mohammad Nawaz, 11. Usman Shinwari

Key Match Ups To Watch Out For

  1. 40 is the new 30 feat Shahid Afridi & Chris Gayle: These two have been playing cricket for over two decades. Whenever you think they are done, they will come back with a man-of-the-match performance. Also add the newly retired from Test cricket, Faf du Plessis to the list of prominent veterans.
  2. Prove a point with a bang feat Alex Hales & Paul Stirling: Alex Hales, once again ignored from the England national set up (despite most runs in the Big Bash) and Paul Stirling, ignored from the IPL auctions (despite being the best ODI batsman over the last year), find themselves together as opening pair for the Islamabad United. No better time to prove your critics wrong.
  3. Mohammad Amir Vs The Rest of The World: Amir controversially announced in a statement that he is still available to play for Pakistan, although it is unlikely to happen under the current management. Will he walk the talk?

Pakistan Super League 2021 Predictions

Finally here are my predictions.

My prediction for the team to lift the PSL 6 trophy is….Islamabad United with the Top 4 of Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, and Peshawar Zalmi.

  • Green Cap (Most Runs): Mohammad Rizwan
  • Maroon Cap (Most Wickets): Hasan Ali
  • Emerging Player: Rohail Nazir
  • Surprise Package: Paul Stirling
  • Broken Cricket Dream: Shahid Afridi finally retires? Like really.

Here were my Pakistan Super League 2021 Predictions. What did you think? What are YOUR predictions? Comment Below!

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Fixtures

The league stage begins on 20th February and ends on the 16th of March. The Playoffs schedule is:

  • Qualifier (Lahore) – 18 March (1 vs 2)
  • Eliminator 1 (Lahore) – 19 March (3 vs 4)
  • Eliminator 2 (Lahore) – 20 March (Eliminator 1 winner Vs Qualifier loser)
  • Final (Lahore) – 22 March (Eliminator 2 winner Vs Qualifier winner)

Here is the rest of the schedule:

Islamabad UnitedKarachi KingsLahore QalandarsMultan SultanPeshawar ZalmiQuetta Gladiators
Islamabad United
Karachi Kings24 Feb
7 Mar
Lahore Qalandars4 Mar
12 Mar
28 Feb
14 Mar
Multan Sultan21 Feb
13 Mar
27 Feb
5 Mar
26 Feb
16 Mar
Peshawar Zalmi27 Feb
15 Mar
3 Mar
10 Mar
21 Feb
6 Mar
23 Feb
12 Mar
Quetta Gladiators1 Mar
6 Mar
20 Feb
13 Mar
22 Feb
11 Mar
3 Mar
7 Mar
26 Feb
14 Mar
Pakistan Super League 2021 Fixtures

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy: Sarfaraz Ahmed – License, as on date of upload: ‘Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)’ , CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons