LAHORE - Pakistan Super League (PSL) governing council chairman Najam Sethi on Tuesday vowed to bring the PSL on home pitches after the first-ever edition of the country’s league will be organised at the neutral venues of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Addressing the official ceremony of unveiling the HBL PSL logo here at a local hotel, Sethi said: “First, we will organise the first ever edition of the PSL in the UAE. After that, we will either host the first or last part of the league’s next edition in Pakistan and then complete event will be hosted by the country.”

HBL has joined hands with the PSL as the tournament’s title sponsor of the first-ever cricket league series for Pakistan. With this partnership in place, the league will now officially be known as HBL Pakistan Super League.

Sethi said this event would prove very beneficial for the growth of professional skills of local talent and it would also help in grooming youngsters and moulding them into quality players. “I hope the youngsters and emerging players of the country will take the PSL as a platform to exhibit their prowess at higher level and make their presence felt so that they may be picked up by the national team selectors for further grooming.”

Lauding the sponsors HBL for their partnering with the PSL, Sethi said: “It’s a great honour for us that HBL, one of the oldest banks of the country, for being the title sponsor of the PSL. They have great services for the promotion of sports especially for cricket and for this, I want to thank them for partnering with us. We contacted the distinctive brands at the right time asking them to join us on this exciting journey and they very kindly welcomed our calls and okayed to be part of the PSL as franchise owners and title sponsors”.

“The entire PSL team worked really hard to make this dream come true. The country’s first ever league is now going to be a grand event and I am very optimistic about its success,” Sethi added.

Speaking at the occasion, HBL chief marketing officer Naveed Asghar said: “It’s a great honour for HBL to partner with Pakistan Super League to bring the largest cricketing event of Pakistan – the HBL PSL. The bank is a national institution that has always played an active role in promoting sports and sportsmen, especially cricket, with some of the largest sporting stars in the country having realized their dreams with HBL.

“Cricket is a sport that is passionately loved and enjoyed by the entire nation and it brings us immense pride to launch a platform that will help in reviving the sport. The HBL PSL will go a long way in adding to the competencies and skills of our players. HBL strongly believes in enabling dreams and a tournament such as HBL PSL will enable young cricket players of Pakistan to realize their dreams to live up to its promise i.e. Jahan Khawab, Wahan HBL,” he added.

Sharing his views on the PSL, the league’s brand ambassador Ramiz Raja said: “I am extremely emotional to witness such a great beginning of the Pakistan Super League. It will be a great addition to our cricket. Speaking from my experience, this will go a long way in nurturing local talent and providing our youngsters with international exposure.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has been organising the franchise-based Twenty20 league from February 4 to 23 in the UAE. The franchise ownership rights were sold for a whopping $93million, making it the single largest investment in any kind of sport in Pakistan.

The PCB has also selected the five icon players for the PSL which include Pakistan all-rounders Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik, along with West Indies opener Chris Gayle, England middle-order batsman Kevin Pietersen and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson.

The teams will buy one icon player each, who will be fetching $200,000. The five icons will be followed by 25 players in the Platinum category, who will be receiving $140,000. The other categories are Diamond ($70,000), Gold ($50,000), Silver ($25,000) and Emerging ($10,000).