ISLAMABAD, Sep 16 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday, terming Pakistan’s cricket talent ‘the best in the world’, said the revamped domestic cricket structure would help discover and polish the abilities of budding cricketers in the country.
He was speaking at the signing ceremony of a satellite broadcast deal between the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and the Pakistan Television (PTV) Sports, and another agreement to secure cable distribution with I-Media Communication Services here at the PM House.
The three-year arrangement is structured to enhance revenues, with the PCB expecting to earn US$200 million during the term. It will give the PTV the exclusive broadcasting rights of the PCB’s all domestic cricket matches, including Quaid-e-Azam Trophy, Pakistan Super League, National T20 Cup, One-Day Pakistan Cup, and the National Under-19 one-day and three-day tournaments.
Since the PCB underwent major overhaul last year as departmental system was scrapped in favour of new regional cricket structure, the prime minister expressed the confidence that the domestic cricket would revive the glory of cricket in the country.
He said there was no dearth of sporting talent in the country and shared his dream for the Pakistan cricket team to prove its mettle in the next World Cup.
The prime minister expressed satisfaction that the collaboration between the PCB and the PTV would cater to the needs of cricket viewers through quality and live broadcast of the matches.
Imran Khan cherished the acclaimed programmes of PTV’s bygone era, especially dramas and said today’s occasion was an important step towards its revival to be followed by digitalization in future.
As per survival of the fittest rule, he said, the PTV needed to compete with private channels through quality content.
Later talking to APP, PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said for first time in 30 years, the broadcast rights of home matches were being given exclusively to the national broadcaster and termed it an encouraging sign for the promotion of cricket in the country.
Mani said the step would provide an opportunity to the fans to watch good competitive cricket almost throughout the year and follow their favourite teams in the domestic season.
PTV Chairman Arshad Khan termed the deal “historic”, assuring the viewers a treat to watch cricket matches on the PTV and the quality distribution via cable distributors.
Legendary cricketer Waseem Akram told APP that it was a “big day for Pakistan and cricket” due to the agreement’s scope for promoting the sport at the grassroots level.
To compete with the world, Akram said, infrastructural reforms were important in cricket and other sports, including hockey, squash etc.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan witnessed the signing ceremony along with the PCB chairman, PTV chairman, and Special Assistant to the PM on Information Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa.
The PCB-PTV deal was inked by PCB Chief Executive Officer Waseem Khan and PTV Managing Director Aamer Manzoor, while the agreement between the PCB and the I-Media Communication Services was signed by Waseem Khan and Director Khalid Mehmood.