LAHORE: Pakistan Super League (PSL)’s official ambassadors Ramiz Raja and Wasim Akram are optimistic about the tournament’s future and its implications for the country’s national team. “Younger players who spend time with much more experienced foreign players in the dressing room will eventually develop into bigger and better players for Pakistan due to the exposure,” former Pakistan captain Ramiz said during a press conference at Gaddafi Stadium here on Thursday. Also present on the occasion were former Pakistan captain Wasim and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) executive committee chairman Najam Sethi. “If a 19-year-old player is getting an opening through PSL, I think the experience will be priceless for him. The dressing room environment will help them become better players,” Ramiz added. While commenting on the preparations of the PSL, Ramiz said: “It is a great beginning.” Ramiz also said that hosting the event in Qatar would not detach it from its supporters in Pakistan. “Pakistan team play their home matches in the UAE but the supporters have not detached themselves from the game. Likewise, the PSL will receive the same support from Pakistan fans.”
Wasim said the PCB was taking the PSL forward one step at a time. “For the first time, the tournament will be held overseas but eventually when it comes back to Pakistan, I am sure, it will be a big entity by then,” said Wasim. “This is just the start. We are starting at a smaller scale but soon it will grow into a bigger league.” He also commented on the salaries for foreign players, saying they were being paid well. “The plan of the tournament is big, so the money that the foreign players are getting is also big. It is the first year, many players have said yes and many of them will say yes in the coming events.” When asked if he knows about any big Australian names who might be interested in playing in PSL, Wasim joked: “I have married an Australian lady but I don’t know about the minds of the Australian cricketers.” Wasim also said the PSL would help Pakistan recruit players into their national team, similar to how the Indian Premier League (IPL) helped induct new players in the India’s national team. “Indian players, when they play with big names in the IPL, they get exposure. This is how they develop into international cricketers for India,” said Wasim. “When our young players will play alongside international cricketers, Pakistan will also have good players ready to represent the country at the highest level.
Ramiz and Wasim are priceless: Sethi, the main head handling the PSL, said that Ramiz and Wasim cannot be paid for the job they were doing for the entire country as they are ‘priceless’. When a reporter asked about the remunerations the veterans were being paid, Sethi said: “One thing is very clear, they are priceless. We have paid them an honorarium but they were not ready to accept it. We had to insist. The services they are giving for Pakistan cannot be price-tagged.”