In a blow to the UAE-based T10 league, the Sindh High Court has issued an interim order against promoting the “Karachians” in any manner in Pakistan. The directive comes after Karachi Kings, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) franchise, sought a stay order from the court against the UAE T20 league’s usage of the name Karachi. As per the court’s order, TV and radio organisations in Pakistan are barred from broadcasting, advertising or promoting anything from the T10 league related to the Karachians – or any other team using Karachi in their name in Pakistan or abroad – till the case’s next hearing on November 15.
The Karachians is one of the eight franchises in the T10 league, which apparently draws its franchise names from various parts of the subcontinent, for example Kerala Kings, Bengal Tigers and Punjabi Legends. The league is set to be played in Sharjah from November 21.
In response to the writ petition filed by Karachi Kings owner Salman Iqbal against the T10 management, the court issued its directive to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA). Until yesterday, the Karachians – which is owned by a Pakistani based in the UAE – had been actively involved in the promotion of the league and their team in Karachi and Lahore. The T10 league has been operating in Pakistan in this manner through Pakistani directors.
Earlier this week it was learnt that five out of the six PSL franchises had written a letter to PCB chairman Ehsan Mani, voicing concern over what they felt was encroachment by the T10 league into what they consider their territory. In their letter, the PSL franchises said it was “a mean attempt by a foreign entity to target Pakistani cricket viewership market despite the fact that the T10 Cricket League has no indigenous affiliation with Pakistan or people of Pakistan”, and asked, among other things, that the PCB prevent its players from participating in the league.
The PCB, which had already decided to hand players the required No-Objection Certificates needed to feature in the T10 league after initial concerns, is yet to respond to the PSL franchises.
T10 chairman Nawab Shajiul Mulk was confident that the court will cancel its order after hearing their side of the argument. “It’s a temporary thing and our lawyers are confident that the injunction is not based on sound principles,” Mulk told ESPNcricinfo. “We are putting up our own argument [at the next hearing] on November 15, and this injunction will be cancelled.
“This is all based on the use of word Karachi, but if you see there are a lot business with the name Karachi included.
“But the main point here is that Karachi Kings, from what I know is a brand name that belongs to the PCB, not to individuals because that’s how the league operates. So our counter argument will be that it’s the PCB’s decision to allow or not to allow this and Karachians is the name actually approved by the ICC and we have a document. So we are on a sound footing.”
PSL franchises had voiced concerns over the T10 league in 2017 as well, which was the tournament’s inaugural year. It has expanded in its second year, with two new teams to added, one of which is Karachians and the other is Northern Warriors, whose owners are UAE-based Indians. Season one also featured “Team Sri Lanka”, which has been rebranded this year. High-profile players like Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum have committed to playing in the league this season.