Pakistan Super League; Politics, Cricket, and Economy

Pakistan Super League
Image Credits: Brecorder

Amidst the controversy surrounding the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and its sponsors amidst the Gaza conflict, questions arise about the intersection of politics and cricket.

Cricket has always been a center of interest for majority of the population of the world; exclusively for the people of South Asian region.

It is not considered just a game, but many sentiments and emotions are attached to this gentlemen’s game. In fact, it is a matter of life and death for some; thus, cricket occupies prime importance in the lives of people.

One such league is the Pakistan Super League, which has always been a source of entertainment for cricket lovers not just in Pakistan, but all over the world. PSL also serves as a strong medium to boost the economy. Over the years, the franchise has grown bigger and bigger; welcoming world class players to play on Pakistani soil. The quality has been remarkable over the years and is increasing by each passing year. It is no less than from other leagues of the world.

All eight past seasons of the league have been a success, with crowds in attendance, commentators from different parts of the world, and stadiums full of spectators of all ages chanting their favorite players’ names. But a contrasting picture is witnessed during the current season of PSL. Despite having world-renowned players like Babar Azam, M. Rizwan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Sikandar Raza, Pollard, and others, along with experienced coaches like Shane Watson and Vivian Richards, a downfall is observed. Low crowds in the stadium especially in Karachi, no big social media promotions etc. can be seen. It is mainly because due to the sponsors of the season that is Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Tim Hortons.

Due to the ongoing war in Gaza people of Pakistan are boycotting the Israeli and western backed products to support their Muslim brothers during the war in Gaza. It is a remarkable step under the umbrella of humanity as a moral support is provided to the brothers and sisters of Gaza.

Strong wave to boycott PSL is trending on social media including X, formerly Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other sites. Majority of the citizens are demanding that PSL should ban KFC from investment.

But this is not possible for a league like PSL. It is not as big as Indian Premier League (IPL) where various investors are present. The investors present in PSL are of diverse range some are big some are small in their revenue generation. Only KFC is one such sponsor which is big in terms of revenue generation. Because of KFC the league have grown over the years.

But my question is, is PSL not our league? Is it not our duty to promote our domestic cricket and support the nation’s economy through this accessible medium, which is cricket?

Yes, it is our league aimed at bringing cricket back to Pakistan after it was disrupted by waves of terrorism. Moreover, it is our duty as the citizen of Pakistan to promote this league which helps to generate a sound economy. it is estimated that the 2023 edition of PSL generated a revenue of over Rs. 5 billion. By witnessing these huge numbers in a state like Pakistan it is necessary to support this game. In addition to this, generation of jobs is also witnessed. last but not the least, this is a strong medium which culminates a bond of harmony among the people which is rare to find now a days in great hustle bustle; where everyone is busy in their routine and others.

By associating this gentleman’s game with the ongoing war in Gaza is not right just because the investors are western companies. These companies are operating in Pakistan and are lending help by granting scholarships to the students. Also, another sponsor of PSL is donating money for their brothers in Gaza. But its just that their way of doing help is different. They are doing it with the help of cricket.

Thus, it is necessary that people should keep separate politics with sports. Every citizen should support this league as it is one of main means to generate economy. Moreover, one more reason to support this league is that it brings together people.

The opinions shared in this article reflect the author’s personal views and do not necessarily align with the institution’s official stance.

Yusra Sarwar

Yusra Sarwar, a dedicated scholar of International Relations at National Defence University, delves into the foreign policies of great powers, maritime security, and regional dynamics in South Asia and the Indo-Pacific. Outside academia, she finds joy in cricket, reading, and writing. She can be found at @YusraYusra234.

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