PSL final: The game-changer

March 4, 2017
Zamir Hussain Laghari

Pakistani cricket fans pose showing their tickets of the forthcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) final cricket match, as others stand in a queue outside a bank in Lahore on March 1, 2017. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and officials of the league have been adamant that the March 5, final will be held in Lahore despite a number of recent bomb attacks in the country. / AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI


By: Zamir Hussain Laghari

Sentiments are high and fever has gripped the cricket lovers nationwide as country is meeting security challenge for the Pakistan Super League final.

We are a cricket-crazy nation but this event is more than mere a cricket game for us.

For the Pakistan Cricket Board, the government and the security forces, it’s a challenge for all to demonstrate that Pakistan can once again safely host international teams and successfully revive the cricket on its soil.

It was, therefore, a daring and wise decision to hold the risky final event in Lahore with multi-dimensional security. At a time when we suffered back-to-back terror attacks, it was not so easy to make a decision that the event should be held on our soil at all cost.

The army and Punjab provincial government deserve felicitation for this firm stance. The army extended full support in terms of unprecedented security for the cricket that gives a confidence and a sense of protection to citizens.

PCB has also done a good job by realizing that the PSL final is an opportunity to regain the confidence of foreign teams and bring back international cricket.

Although challenges are tough, the morale is high to give a befitting message to the enemy – that is hell-bent to sabotage peace and tranquility of the motherland – that we know how to accept challenges, how to cope with adversaries of hostile neighbours, how to struggle against odds and how to protect the homeland when a foe casts evil eye on it.

In this photograph taken on March 1, 2017, a Pakistani cricket fan poses showing his tickets of the forthcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL) final cricket match as others stand in a queue outside a bank in Lahore. Pakistan will deploy troops and bullet-proof buses for the Pakistan Super League final on March 5, 2017, its biggest cricket match in years, after a wave of militant attacks prompted a host of foreign stars to pull out. "Unprecedented" security involving thousands of troops and police will guard the sold-out game in Lahore -- scene of a deadly 2009 assault on Sri Lanka's team which halted international cricket tours in the country. / AFP PHOTO / ARIF ALI

Despite the fact that the PSL was haunted and overshadowed by spot-fixing reports, uncertainty of foreign players’ availability, confusion and security issues, the cricket enthusiasts are determined to enjoy the final show.

This final is not only for Lahore but for all Pakistanis to get united and back efforts of peace. So, the people of Lahore, as well as the entire nation, are primed for a determinant showdown with the atmosphere of fear and fright.

No matter we stood in long ticket queues for hours and returned empty-handed and frustrated, but not disappointed. I believe it will not dampen our love with the cricket game; instead, it will strengthen our resolve to show unity against a cunning enemy.

We may also face long delays at security checkpoints and curfew-like situation in the city on the day of final, but no matter, as a responsible nation we are cognizant of sensitivity of the issue.

We know that our country has not hosted any of cricket’s leading teams since 2009. And even today when nobody is entirely sure which foreign players will join us, we are hopeful. The only weapon we have against our foes is the hope and unity. So the hopes for the best are alive and must not die.

One of our key opposition figures criticized the decision to hold the PSL final in Lahore calling it ‘madness’. But the time will prove that he was wrong, (and perhaps he take another U-turn on it.)

Cricket, in which we have proved our excellence word over, is not a matter of life and death, but may be this event is, since it’s the test of our nerves, courage, determination and resolve to eliminate the menace of terrorism. And we will prove that the enemy has failed to dent our courage.

With our steadfastness and faithfulness, we know how to live and how to die for a noble cause. If God willing, the nation will witness cheers, colors, joy, jubilation and festivity on Sunday celebrating the collapse of enemy’s nefarious designs.

Surely this mega event will serve as a game-changer for the dawn of a new era of peace, prosperity and cricket’s revival in Pakistan.

[The author is an online journalist who likes research and writing on social issues, culture, tourism and international affairs.]

Published in Opinion, Sports Blogs

Story first published: 4th March 2017