The Karachi Kings are a cricket franchise that play in the Pakistan Super League. They are based in the city of Karachi, which is the seventh largest city in the world and the most populous in all of Pakistan. The Karachi Kings haven’t enjoyed as much success in the PSL as some of their rivals, but this is a profitable, exciting team nonetheless, and it’s one that many business owners tried to get their hands on when the franchise was first offered for sale.
The Pakistan Cricket Board announced the PSL in 2015. They released a statement saying that there were to be five city-franchises. When this happened, Karachi immediately became the team that everyone wanted. This is by far the biggest city in the country after all, and anyone who can make a success out of that brand was sure to make a healthy profit in the long run. Unsurprisingly, Karachi became the most expensive franchise when it was sold to ARY Media Group for $26 million.
To put things into perspective, this is the same price as the Quetta and Islamabad franchises put together. And when you consider their eventual finishing places during the opening season, that’s quite a statement.
As with all franchises in the PSL, the sale allowed the owners of Karachi Kings to keep the franchise for 10 years.
The 2016 season, which was the opening season of the Pakistan Super League, was a no-show for the Karachi Kings. Many predicted they would have a solid season, but they did not. The eventual winners, Islamabad United, secured a clean sweep against them, as did league winners Peshawar and eventual finalists Quetta.
Simply put, the Karachi Kings were just outclassed. They were not in the same league as many of their opponents and if not for the fact that Lahore were even further out of that league, they would have finished bottom. For a team carrying the name of the country’s biggest city, that would have been a huge embarrassment for the owners and even for the PSL.
Karachi Kings did make it through to the playoffs of the 2016 season. The way the PSL is structured means that even though they finished fourth out of fifth, they still had a chance in the playoffs. In fact, the eventual winners, Islamabad, actually finished third. But even with this chance, they continued to prove that they were just not able to match their rivals week-in week-out.
Like all PSL teams, the Karachi Kings don’t actually play in their home region. Due to security issues, the Pakistan league was moved to the United Arab Emirates and played between a couple of major stadiums over there. Still, despite playing abroad, these teams, and Karachi Kings in particular, still have a large following. This is due, in no small part, to the fact that many Pakistanis emigrated to the UAE, but also because PSL cricket has gained a global following in its short history.
They have one of the largest backroom staffs in the league. Many of these are of Pakistan origin and include CEOs, fielding coaches, physios, analysts and more. But their manager, Mickey Arthur, hails from South Africa.
The title sponsor for the Karachi Kings franchise is Bahria Town, the biggest real-estate company in Pakistan. They are also sponsored by everyone from Pepsi, Summit Bak, The Arkadians and Oye Hoye, among others. The Karachi Kings even have a “tea sponsor” in Vital Tea, as well as a “print media sponsor”.
As is so often the case with PSL teams, they also have their own theme song. In the first season this was titled “Dilon Kay Hum Hain Badshah”, which was sung by Ali Azmat; in the second season it was sung by Shehzad Roy and was called “Dhana Dhan Hoga Re”.
The Karachi Kings have struggled during the opening seasons of the PSL. They have really struggled with the league and have been one of the “whipping boys” of Pakistan cricket. This has caused a lot of embarrassment for the owners, players and fans. After all, they were the most expensive franchise and they carry the name of the biggest city in the country. However, they have continued to invest, to bring in new players and to grow, and this franchise could still have a few golden years in it yet.
After a poor season in 2016, they went all-out in 2017 and began with a trade for Chris Gayle. The West Indies international had recently led his country to a victory in the T20 World Cup in what many called a one-man show. His signature was a huge hit with the fans and ensured that the future looked a little brighter for the Karachi Kings.
They also signed Mahela Jayawardene, Ryan McLaren and Kieron Pollard, another three overseas players. But despite bolstering their sward with these big names, they didn’t get the start they wanted to the season. Once that happened, heads dropped; fans predicted another poor season; and the Karachi Kings owners realized that there was a lot more work needed to be done if they were going to compete with the likes of Islamabad and Quetta.