PSL have Multan Sultans as sixth team from 3rd Edition
Multan Sultans is the 6th team to be included for PSL 3rd edition 2018. The third edition of the Pakistan Super League will see the addition of Multan Sultans as the sixth team in the competition. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made this announcement with respect to the 2018 PSL that will be played around February next year.
The Schon Group won the rights to own the sixth team, which will be based in Multan, joining the Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Lahore Qalandars, Karachi Kings and Islamabad United. PSL congratulated the company after they agreed to pay $5.2 m per year to join the PSL as the new team. Mohammad Hafeez may be appointed the captain with Michael Clarke as their Head Coach. Sri Lankan veteran Mahela Jayawardene may be appointed the Vice Captain of the team.
Earlier, there were five different regions which had all been shortlisted as possible options for the fifth team, including Hyderabad, Dera Murad Jamali, FATA and Faisalabad. Multan were the final winners.
One of the reasons why a sixth team was included in the PSL is to cash in on the ever-increasing popularity of the cricket league. Last season, Pakistan cricket fans had taken to the PSL like fish towater, surpassing most expectations as far as TV ratings are concerned.
The addition of the sixth team also increases the number of games that will be played in the third edition of the Pakistan Super League. The previous two seasons of the PSL saw a sum total of 24 games played but this season, there will be 34 matches. Eight of those games during the league stage could be hosted in Pakistan while the final of the tournament will also be played in Lahore/Karachi.
The PSL schedule for the 2018 edition will be released later this year. Multan owners will also announce their team name soon enough although news is out that it may be named Multan Sultans.
It will now be interesting to see how will the PSL Draft go given the inclusion of this sixth side. A new squad will obviously be named, which means other teams might have to release a few players back to their draft pool, that will be announced before the start of the PSL Draft. The sixth team will be allowed to pick around 10 players from the various categories; players who are released by the other five teams. As a result they will enter the PSL Draft on a level-playing field as the rest of the five teams.
Sethi said that the initial agreement with the rest of the franchises allowed the League to introduce a sixth team following two editions of the tournament and that the next edition of the PSL will see the inclusion of a sixth team.
Sethi hoped that the PSL governing body was looking at the possibility of hosting the 2018 final at Karachi while also making efforts aimed at hosting more matches within Pakistan.
The chairman did not hide his delight at Lahore hosting the final this year and said that the fact that the event was largely without incident served to deliver a message to the rest of the world as well.
While Sethi admitted that there was always the risk of political forces using the opportunity to further their own needs, the chairman was optimistic about hosting the PSL 2018 final in Karachi.
Currently, the PSL has five teams competing for honours – Lahore, Quetta, Karachi, Peshawar and Islamabad.