The Pakistani Super League is a cricket competition that draws in both local and international players into different teams. The players are called upon to share the common goal of enabling their team to win, in a highly competitive league. The teams are thus social groups, since a social group is constituted by individuals who interact frequently and share characteristics and a sense of unity (Jans et al, 2015). Two of the outstanding teams are the Karachi Kings and Islamabad United. This paper analyzes the in-groups, out groups, secondary groups and reference groups identified in the context of these two teams.
In-groups are social groups with which a person identifies himself (Jans et al, 2015). The Karachi Kings team is an in-group for its players, as is the Islamabad United team. The 2019 selection of the two teams shows that Karachi Kings had 15 Pakistani and 7 foreign players; while Islamabad United had 13 Pakistani and 9 foreign players (ICC, 2019). These players, though with diverse backgrounds, identify strongly with the team objective of working together to win. This gives them a strong sense of identity and enhances cohesion in the team.
An out-group is that which a person does not identify with (Jans et al, 2015). The two teams see each other, and other teams in the league as rivals and thus out-groups. The players and fans thus do not identify with such teams. They see them as others, which brings in the bitter team rivalries between teams and their fans.
A secondary group is a loosely constituted group within which there are smaller groups with tighter bonds of identity. In the face of the in-groups which form within the cricket teams, the league itself is a secondary group for all the teams. Identity bonds are thus stronger within the in-groups than in the league itself.
These are groups which other groups compare themselves to and want to emulate. Karachi Kings and Islamabad United are reference groups to each other. Even though they are rivals, they still strive to emulate each other’s success over the years and outdo each other. They are also reference groups for other teams in the league.
The Pakistan cricket league teams Karachi Kings and Islamabad United are strong in-groups in themselves for their players. They are out-groups for each other, because of the fierce rivalry that exists between them. The league itself is a large secondary group for all the teams in the league. Finally, the two teams act as reference groups for each other, and for other teams in the league, which want to emulate their success.
ICC. (2019). “PSL 2019 to Start on 14th February”. Retrieved 20/5/2019 from: https://www.icc-cricket.com/news/851236.
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Jans, L. et al. (2015). The development of group influence on in-group identification: A multilevel approach. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations. 8(2): 190-209.