Salman Iqbal, the president of the T10 League, has stepped down from the position two months before the second edition of the tournament, citing "lack of transparency" and lack of "proper systems and monitoring". He has distanced himself from the venture and warned Pakistani players against taking part in the league.
Iqbal, owner of the ARY Group and the Pakistan Super League's second-most expensive team, Karachi Kings, was a major investor and partner in the T10 League with the UAE-based businessman Shaji ul Mulk. The second edition is set to run from November 23 to December 2. Prominent players like Rashid Khan, Chris Lynn, Brendon McCullum and Andre Russell are among those who have committed to taking part this season. On Monday, the eight franchises - up from six last season - gathered in Dubai for a mini draft to pick their icon players and choose four players to retain from their 2017 squads.
The T10 League, a 10-overs-a-side format introduced by private cricket organisers in Sharjah, made its debut late last year, and the success of its opening season has led to an increase from six teams to eight and from a 13-match tournament held over four days to a 28-game event over ten days. The organisers have also hiked the franchise fee from USD 400,000 to USD 1.2 million for the two new teams.
"I am resigning from my the position of President T10 league and disassociating myself from all its operations," Iqbal said in a statement issued on Tuesday. "The reason for my resignation is lack of transparency, unprofessionalism and no proper structure of the league which I have been persistently asking for and can no longer continue without the same.
"Private cricket leagues that are not controlled by ICC and have independent players monitoring system, added with lack of policies and procedures may lead to numerous misconducts. I had joined the venture as I felt the need to represent Pakistan in this new format and promote cricket and Pakistani cricketers at different platforms."
Iqbal's presence was a major factor behind the participation of top Pakistani players in the inaugural season of the T10 League. Originally, PCB wasn't willing to allow their players to take part since the league directly clashed with the commercial interests of the PSL in the UAE. But Iqbal, despite having a stake in PSL, managed to convinced the then PCB chairman Najam Sethi to let them participate.
The PCB thereafter defended the league publicly despite resistance from other PSL teams and went on to allow its 10 highest-paid contracted players to participate. The board also levied a fee of USD 400,000 from the league, and said it would be spent on game development in the country. Sethi also involved the PCB board of governors to lend their support for the T10 league following a request from the Emirates Cricket Board, which runs cricket in the UAE. ICC had also sanctioned the league conditionally.
"My prime objective for the league was to safeguard the interest of Pakistani players and promote Pakistani cricket," Iqbal's statement said. "With current standing of the league, it is obvious that the league is heading in wrong direction and we can not allow Pakistani players to be misused for vested interests of foreign individuals. Proper systems and monitoring should be in place and controlled by ICC, which safeguards all players and sanctity of the game. I believe it is better for me to part ways with an unsupervised T10 league."
Shaji Ul Mulk, the T10 League chairman, has not responded to ESPNcricinfo's attempts to contact him for a comment.