Sports are important for a healthy lifestyle. It is important to engage in physical and mental exercise to remain fit and healthy. Sports is not just vital for the human mind and body but can also bring countries and cultures together. Unfortunately, sports has been one of the biggest victims of politics which is why we have not witnessed a Pakistan-India cricket series in decades.
In the past, Pakistan and India engaged in cricket diplomacy even amid tense relations and the looming shadow of war. In February 1987, President General Zia-ul-Haq made an unannounced trip to New Delhi and onwards to Jaipur to watch a Test match between India and Pakistan where Imran Khan was also playing in the national team. The visit calmed the political environment and the threat of war subsided.
Domestic cricket has progressed in the country and has given us many talented players. The Pakistan Super League (PSL) has left the nation spellbound by introducing a new world to cricket fans.
Many talented cricketers are still not being the opportunities that they deserve. We need more venues where they can showcase their talent in front of the world.
After the overwhelming success of the PSL, we are set to have another cricket league in our country – the Kashmir Premier League (KPL). The tournament will be held in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and many talented players from across Pakistan and abroad will be seen in action. Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Shahid Afridi, Imad Wasim, Kamran Akmal, Asif Ali, Shoaib Maqsood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Haider Ali, South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs and England’s Monty Panesar and Owais Shah will descend in the scenic valley for the tournament.
The Kashmir Premier League was announced after the PSL and the first season was supposed to be held in April but the event was another victim of the coronavirus pandemic and had to be rescheduled. It is now set to be held from 6-16th August in Muzaffarabad. The KPL aims to bring new talent forward and will show a positive image of Pakistan. The PCB also aims to establish a High-Performance Centre in the region where players will be given training to improve their skills.
The KPL – which is sanctioned by the PCB – has two Kashmiri players in each of the six teams and is an excellent opportunity for local cricketers to show their talents. The AJK government has also announced to renovate the Muzaffarabad Stadium which will be handed over to KPL organizers for a 13-year-old deal. It is certainly a tournament at par with international standards being held in our country.
The KPL will certainly provide more entertainment for cricket fans and will unearth many hidden talents in the region. It will even draw more tourists to the scenic valley. The hosting of the tournament is a message to the outside world to see the horrific conditions in India-occupied Kashmir. Cricket has become a brand in Pakistan and the Kashmir Premier League is a welcome edition.