Pakistan to launch Premier League in March
Pakistan will launch its Premier League Twenty20 tournament in March as it bids to lure more international cricketers back to the country.
Touring sides have shunned Pakistan since a militant attack on Sri Lanka players in 2009, but last weekend an International World XI took on a Pakistan All Star team in two T20 games.
"We have decided to go ahead with the (Premier League) as this is the best time for us to bring back some international cricket to Pakistan," Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Zaka Ashraf told Reuters.
South Africa turned down a request from the PCB to adjust the dates for Pakistan's tour from January to March next year, as the tour ends on March 24th, about the same time the Premier League is to be launched.
The Indian Premier League, the most successful T20 competition amid a raft of new tournaments in south Asia, is set to start around April 4.
"We just need a two-week window to have our first event and we can manage that despite the South African tour," Ashraf said, adding that five franchises with a pool of 30 overseas players were in the pipeline.
The board has asked the Pakistan government for a five-year tax exemption for the league.
Meanwhile Ashraf has ruled out any plans to hire former Test captain Salim Malik as the next batting coach of the national team.
Malik, who was banned for life in 2000 by a judicial inquiry commission for his role in match-fixing, has applied for the batting coach position after stating that the supreme court had cleared him in the case.
"We have decided to have qualified coaches for different jobs and that is why we have kept a certain criteria for candidates. Only those candidates will be considered who meet our eligibility process," Ashraf said, aware Malik does not have coaching badges.