By: Zia Ur Rahman
This is apparently seems the whole Pakistan is indulge in Pakistan Super League II final. The electronic media is one step ahead in it. They are giving maximum coverage to PSL.
One of the madness I have witnessed outside the branches of Bank of Punjab especially headquarters of the BOP. Cricket fans wait in long queues outside the bank to buy PSL final tickets. They reach there early in the morning holding breakfast in their hands. Tickets for the PSL final were sold out within hours of opening online and at bank counters. The fever of PSL brings fans from four provinces and across the country to Lahore. After seeing long queues at the banks in Lahore and rush for online sale led PSL officials to announce they were cutting down the allocation to the corporate sector in order to provide more tickets for ordinary cricket lovers.
Cricket is Pakistan’s most popular sport but during the last seven years, fans have been starved of excitement due to the absence of international events at home grounds. International teams stopped touring Pakistan after an attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009. An exception was the Zimbabwe team’s tour of 2015, which too had faced a suicide blast at outside gate of the venue of the second ODI in which some people were killed. Over this tragedy Government of Punjab requested to media houses in Pakistan not to report this incident.
In the meantime, Pakistan has been playing its entire home international cricket in the United Arab Emirates, including the PSL which was established in 2015 and played its first season last year. PSL-II has also been played in UAE, but PCB decided to hold the final in Lahore as a step in its efforts to bring international cricket back to Pakistani soil.
The Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf declared another madness over the decision of PSL in Lahore. He said the decision to host the match in Lahore was “madness”.
The PTI leader added, “In my view, it is a terrible idea. We want to hold this match by calling in army and blocking roads and there will be high security. This will not send a good message.” The Law Minister for Punjab Rana Sana Ullah countered Imran Khan and declared him in-sane person.
The final match of PSL will be the first involving international players on Pakistani soil in several years. Pakistan Cricket Board decided to establish PSL to provide local cricketers with a platform to re-link with international cricket. PSL management has drawn up a list of willing international players for both teams to choose from. An extra premium of more than $10,000 will be offered to such players for playing in Pakistan. According to PSL organizing committee five players of Peshawar Zalmi Darren Sammy and Marlon from West Indies and England’s Dawid Malan, Samit Patel, and Chris Jordan has reached in Pakistan. Five players of Quetta Gladiator Inam Ul Haq from Bangladesh, Elton Chigumbura from Zimbabwe, Morne Van Wyk form South Africa, Riaz Emrith from UAE, Sean Erwin, Morne Wanvick are the players who can receive this extra money.
All of Pakistan leadership comes to on single pitch over the rehabilitation of international cricket. They should give up such statement to declare “mad” to each other for point scoring. The law enforcement agencies are also supporting the PSL in Lahore. This is the time for every Pakistani to participate his role for the revival of international cricket. This will not only give good gesture to the cricket lovers in Pakistan and outside the Pakistan as well. Through this the cricket stadiums in Pakistan who are giving a deserted look may be full of spectators.
Story first published: 4th March 2017