Lahore - The Pakistan Super League organisers have committed a huge blunder and apparently deprived Luke Ronchi of the best batsman award supposed to be given to the highest run-scorer in the event.

Instead the award was handed to another in-form batsman Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi, who has also come under heavy criticism for his poor outing with the bat in the final and a crucial dropped catch.

Islamabad United’s wicket-keeper batsman Ronchi though won the player of the tournament award for his explosive batting display throughout the tournament with a strike rate of 182 and was also man-of-the-match in the final as well. His 435 runs in 11 innings with an average of 43.50 included five fifty plus scores and it was his batting that set the tone for the title victory of Islamabad United throughout the tournament.

Kamran also exploded with the bat scoring 425 runs in 13 innings with an average of 38.63 and strike rate of 153.42. He also hit the only century of this season as well, his second in PSL overall, along with four 50s. He also took eight catches behind the wickets.

The PSL organizers, since its second edition, copied the Indian Premier League’s idea to handover the coloured caps to the highest wicket-taker and the highest run-getter and these caps kept changes hands throughout the event to keep players motivated. In the end, holders of these caps receive the best batsman and the best bowler awards.

In the PSL, maroon and green caps to the highest wicket taker and the highest runs scorer respectively changed a number of hands throughout the course of the tournament and Kamran reclaimed Hanif Mohammed cap from Ronchi after the second eliminator against Karachi Kings and received it from Younus Khan for being the highest run-getter in the tournament till the moment. But his failure with the bat in the final gave an opening to Ronchi and he duly obliged with another quickfire fifty to surpass Kamran at the summit of the top run-scorers list, but unfortunately, the PSL organisers, reason better known to them, comfortably ignored the fact.

One may argue that Kamran was leading run-scorer after the group stage but from previous edition, it is evident that the race does not end till the final. In 2017, Kamran won the best wicketkeeper, the best batsman and the player of the tournament awards as he scored 353 runs and his victims behind the stump were more than any other wicketkeeper. But 141 runs of these 353 had come in the play-off stage and at the end of group stage, the leading run-scorer was Babar Azam.

In same way, Faheem Ashraf has received the best bowler award with 18 scalps though he was tied with Wahab Riaz. But a superior average may be given Faheem an edge so his award can be justified. But 10-run gap in two top batsmen is not easy to ignore and showed the capacity of the PSL organisers that was evident throughout the season. Even in first edition when there were no caps to honour top performers, the best batsman and the best bowler awards went to Umar Akmal and Andre Russell who were leading the batting and bowling charts in the inaugural edition, respectively.

When contacted, PCB media director Amjad Hussain Bhatti was unaware about the criteria that may have been taken into account for declaring the individual award winners name but promised to give the response after contacting the relevant authority. But after lapses of hours, he neither called back nor attended the phone call again made to him to take the viewpoint.

Apparently, the PSL organisers went complacent and forgot to keep them updated till the end of the final of the event. This complacency was evident throughout the third edition of the PSL as they failed to keep the interest in the league intact and poor pitches and empty stadiums in the UAE are evident of this. They also proved a failure to produce enough material for the media that may have won them more coverage and space. Even they failed in synchronising the countdown before start of the match and one kept wondering what the purpose of this countdown was and ‘let’s play’ announcement when the action in the field took more time to kick-off.

In the end, ‘international cricket return’ saved their blushes somehow but they were not short of committing blunders, chaos, delay at prize distribution ceremony and wrong announcement for the best batsman award which exposed them yet again.

It is time that the PSL and PCB give some proper logic about giving the best batsman award to Kamran or issue an apology in this regard. They also have to make their act together and come up with better planning and oraganisation in years to come to sustain the brand image of this successful cricket league as ‘cricket return’ mantra is also bound to lose its appeal.