Young voices on Kashmir

Kashmir Premium League changes the dynamic of AJ&K

24th August 2021 | Ishba Aziz Khan
The Kashmir Premium League is a Twenty20 league launched in Azad Kashmir in 2021. The league ran from August 6 to August 17 with six teams taking part in the tournament namely Muzaffarabad Tigers, Bagh Stallions, Kotli Lions, Overseas Warriors, Rawalakot Hawks and Mirpur Royals. Many local, national and international players, commentators, umpires and coaches participated in the league. All the matches were played at the Muzaffarabad Cricket Stadium which has a capacity of 10,000 people. Around 2,500 spectators were allowed in the stadium due to Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions. On the first day of the League, it broke all records of digital viewing, having 5.6 million views all over the world. It exceeded 15 million views in the first 5 matches globally. The first edition of the League broadcasted live in about 50 countries around the world Rawalakot Hawks won the final match after handing the Muzaffarabad Tigers a 7-run defeat and stood victorious in the fantastic KPL.

Kashmir Premium League proved to be a great source of entertainment for the local people as well as the international audience. During this time of Pandemic and lockdowns where people are stuck in their homes, this was a great event for people to enjoy themselves and have fun. People from all over Azad Kashmir and Pakistan came to Muzaffarabad to enjoy the matches. In the final thrilling match of the league, the stadium was fully packed and all the tickets were sold out. Not only people visiting the stadium enjoyed the matches but people sitting in their homes were watching live broadcast on television and made it a huge success.
The League besides providing entertainment to the people also had a great impact on the economy and tourism of the State. Muzaffarabad, the capital city, particularly derived substantial economic benefits from the event. All the people participating in the league stayed in Muzaffarabad and the adjacent areas. The hotels and restaurants were crowded during these days. Besides that, the broadcasting on both national and international level, sponsorship by different people, expenditure of the tourists and generation of earning opportunities in hospitality services were some of the major factors which benefitted the local community immensely in terms of economic opportunities.

Moreover, another big achievement of the Kashmir Premium League is the impact it had on the tourism sector in AJK. Many people visiting Muzaffarabad for the League visited Neelum Valley which is a few kilometers away from Muzaffarabad. The beauty of this place was highlighted as these people are international icons and their followers from all over the world came to know about Kashmir and its beautiful places. They not only appreciated the hospitality of the Kashmiris but also promoted them through their social media accounts which introduced Kashmir to the people globally who sometimes have misconceptions as was due to misrepresentation by media. This promotion of Kashmir has attracted the attention of tourists and hopefully there will be a great upsurge in tourism in Azad Kashmir in the future. Another major achievement of this league is the recognition of the Kashmiri talent by the cricket icons. It was made a compulsion for every team to have native Kashmiri players in it. These players shared the dressing room with the best cricket players of the world which gave them not only exposure but also confidence and motivation to shine and excel like their mentors. Seeing the talent of these young Kashmiri boys, the management decided to start a cricket academy of international standards in Azad Kashmir. This will be a great opportunity for the youngsters of Azad Kashmir to showcase their talent and represent Kashmir on national and international platforms.

To conclude, we can say that in addition to achieving all these benefits from the League, the cricket fans thoroughly enjoyed these 10 days of the event and made it a huge success. This was only the inaugural session of this League; we expect to see more from it in the coming years but the cities or regions hosting big sports events must work on the development of infrastructure, sports facilities and hospitality services. We also need to take serious steps in improving the scope and quality of the services we provide to the cricket fans as it is not only a source of entertainment and economy boost but also an effective way of re-shaping the foundation of our society by shattering the ethnic, political and cultural hurdles. We need to put in serious efforts in this regard towards developing sports not only for entertainment, social and financial benefits but also for evolving a prosperous, peaceful, healthy and happy nation in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic and the regional crisis haunting our lives.

Ishba Khan

The writer is a student of International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).
She can be reached at

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