Pakistan Cricket Board has a mere two days in hand to get a new television production partner on board for the remaining matches of the Pakistan Super League. If a suitable replacement is not found for IMG-Reliance, threat looms large for the cancellation of the Multan Sultans versus Quetta Gladiators match in Sharjah on Wednesday.
The PCB is working overtime to tie the loose ends and ensure the production and broadcast of the match on Wednesday. Two games yesterday (Sunday) were produced by the IMG-Reliance, who have since opted out of the contract to protest the killings of CRPF Jawans in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir. The EID attack orchestrated by the Pakistan-based terror outfits has resulted in the martyrdom of 42 CRPF Jawans.
The backlash ever since the February 14 blast that blew up two buses carrying CRPF teams has seen a number of aggressive majors against Pakistan. Sports fraternity expressing solidarity with martyrs families has seen Pakistani players’ images and statues being removed from cricket stadiums in Mohali and Mumbai, and DSport terminating the PSL broadcast in India.
While the PCB has little control over the strong retaliatory action from India, the frustrated cricket board is fighting hard to find a suitable replacement for IMG-Reliance and ensure the broadcast facilities are under control before the game on Wednesday.
Even though the PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan had said that it “always had a contingency plan in place, and we are confident we will be in a position to announce the new partner on Monday after the completion of the formalities”, InsideSport.co has learnt that the PSL team is engaged in talks with an Indian entity and a London-based production house to take charge of the production and retain the IMG-Reliance production crew members who are working as contracted “freelancers”.
The options are also being explored to involve several Dubai-based ex-Ten Sports production team members to ensure uninterrupted broadcast and games.
However, no Indian company will find it easy to accept the contract that IMG-Reliance has dumped in the “national interest to express solidarity with our martyrs,” a freelance professional has said on condition of anonymity. “Even if production facilities are put in place for the next game (on Wednesday), I have my doubts if the operations will be smooth for the next few days.
“Let us also not forget that the PCB is going back to the same productions houses who have been dumped in favour of IMG-Reliance. Production costs are also bound to inflate if an international production company is engaged at this stage”.