The Kashmir Premier League 2021, a new T20 cricket tournament launched by the Pakistan Cricket Board, will start on August 6. It will be held in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and will run till August 17.
The T20 competition aims to provide the young cricket talent in the city an opportunity to showcase their credentials as promising cricketers, and set a platform for the tournament to attract international investment on the lines of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Six teams will play in the Kashmir Premier League in a round-robin format. They are Rawalakot Hawks, Kotli Lions, Mirpur Royals, Muzaffarabad Tigers, Overseas Warriors, and Bagh Stallions.
Each team will have five local Kashmiri players, who will play alongside Pakistan's international stars in the inaugural edition.
The Kashmir Premier League has announced the captains for the six franchises, with Shahid Afridi - the brand ambassador for the competition - leading the list.
Shahid Afridi will lead Rawlakot Hawks. Senior Pakistan cricketers Mohammad Hafeez (Muzafarabad Tigers), Shoaib Malik (Mirpur Royals), Fakhar Zaman (Kotli Lions), Shadab Khan (Bagh Stallions), and Imad Wasim (Overseas Warrior) will also be involved as captains.
Former South Africa cricketer Herschelle Gibbs intended to participate in the series as well but has faced flak from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The BCCI has reportedly issued a warning to all cricket boards that anyone taking part in the Kashmir Premier League will be banned from all cricketing activities in India.
It has issued the dictum since the tournament will be played in the contentious Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which is a subject of national-level interest for India.
In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has released a statement criticising the BCCI, citing that their warnings are bringing the game into disrepute.
Featured photo: AFP / Arif Ali