KARACHI: The controversial ten-overs-per-innings cricket tournament, the T-Ten League, is apparently under control of Indian owners despite the Pakistan Cricket Board’s recent denial in a press release.
Documents obtained by Geo.tv reveals that the league’s ownership lies with an Indian businessperson who has companies in India, USA and the UAE.
The license issued by the Sharjah authorities to operate the league next month mentions the Indian individual, Nawab Shahtaj Shaji ul Mulk, as the owner of the league.
The license, number 16104 issued by the Hamriyah Freezone Authority of Sharjah, mentions the T Ten Sports Management FZE as the operating company with activities of sports and event management consultancy.
The official website of T Ten league (http://ttensports.com/about-us/) says T Ten Sports Management FZE is a group company of the multinational and diversified conglomerate Mulk Holdings. The same Indian businessperson also owns Mulk holdings.
Another document, the official sponsorship deck sent by the organisers to potential sponsors, mentions him as president of the league.
It is worth mentioning that after starting the league as its president, he was promoted to chairperson when another partner joined them as the president. The Forbes list also mentions him as one of the richest Indian businesspersons in the Middle East.
The above revelation contradicts PCB’s claim that Indians in the league are minority shareholders.
“80% of the shares of the company that owns the league are held by Pakistanis, the owners are meanwhile Muslims. The one Indian minority shareholder is also a Muslim,” the PCB had claimed.
Meanwhile, sources have also confirmed that Indian influence is not limited to owning the league, but Indians are also involved in the ownership of various teams as well.
Earlier reports by Usman Mansoor of the News had raised questions about the transparency and lack of due process of awarding Pakistani players to an unknown entity without appropriate due diligence and without bidding or market revelation of the Pakistani players access.
At the same time, veteran players like Zaheer Abbas, Mohsin Khan, Aamir Sohail and Javed Miandad had also raised questions about the sensitivity involved in the 10-over format, which may-be open to bookies and gambling.
Former ICC president and Test captain Zaheer Abbas, speaking to Geo News, voiced his doubts over the board’s wisdom in giving a green light to its contracted players to play the league.
“It’s difficult to determine the future of ten-over cricket. And it’s very close to Pakistan Super League [schedule wise]. The PCB should not have allowed its players to join the league [in such a short window],” the former captain remarked.
“Ten overs is too easy. Extremely convenient money. What is the point of fielding 11 players each side in such a format? Six or seven players are enough. Honestly, I can’t see any future for this format,” the ‘Asian Bradman’ said, further noting that players would have to be vigilant against dangers of corruption during the league.
“[The board] should have considered a lot of things before releasing players like this.”
Former cricketer and team selector Mohsin Khan shared his opinion on the league. “With this T-10, where exactly are you taking cricket? Are you going to come up with five-over cricket next?”
The former batsman said the PCB should be more selective about where it sends its players.
“We should only send our players to selective, good-standard competitions. We should maintain a standard and preserve our cricketers,” he said, pointing out examples of Australia, India, and England.
“The upcoming tour to New Zealand is very important. Our domestic and international cricket should come first,” he added.
Former cricketer Aamir Sohail said the conflicting stories about T Ten league are disconcerting.
“You have to see that if one franchise owner is not doing something benefitting Pakistan cricket, then you have to sit down and talk with him,” he said, adding that it seemed the board had not thought through the whole matter.
PSL franchise owners had all objected to the PCB as the league is private, does belong to any country’s official cricket board, and competes with the PSL, which would hurt the premier Pakistani league.
The Indian cricket board has not allowed any of its own contracted players to join the league.
Geo had contacted PCB and sent them the new records of the company ownership and is waiting for the PCB’s response.
Earlier, when questions were raised about transparency of the process of awarding access to Pakistani players without bidding, PCB had condemned reporter Usman Mansoor’s report as being against the national interest.