Pakistan Cricket Board Chairperson Ehsan Mani has said that his institution worked extremely hard to organise the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019.
“The organising team did not sleep properly for six weeks,” he said in a press conference on Monday. “Everyone played their part in organising the PSL fixtures in Karachi.”
Mani added that the organisers had a lot of support from Sindh government and Rangers.
The tournament had its fair share of controversies too. Indian-owned IMG Reliance, which was given the rights to broadcast PSL matches, declined to do so because of Pakistan’s escalating tensions with India. PSL organisers found another production partner then. He added that the issues got sorted out in a timely manner by the grace of Allah.
Speaking about the terrorist attack in New Zealand’s Christchurch, he expressed his heartfelt condolences to those affected by the mass shootings. He added that they decided to keep the closing ceremony a simple affair in light of the tragedy.
Pakistan cricket was affected because of terrorist attacks. “Cricket should not stop because of terrorism,” Mani said.
The PCB chairperson, speaking on the PSL fixtures in Karachi, said that more than 0.2 million spectators enjoyed the matches in the National Stadium.
“Overseas cricketer and foreign supporting staff also came to Karachi for the T20 tournament. For the first time, not a single player refused to play in Pakistan,” he said. “The entire country is calling for the PSL to be held again.
“More than 80 officials of the foreign technical staff came to Pakistan as well,” Mani added.
Speaking on the health of Asif Ali’s daughter, he said that Islamabad United has given the Spirit of Cricket Trophy to the all-rounder. “His daughter is extremely ill and all our prayers are with her,” he added.
He said that PCB will try their best to organise the entire fifth edition of the tournament in the country.
“Rawalpindi cricket stadium is being renovated. The Multan cricket stadium is suitable for cricket matches,” he said. “Miranshah cricket stadium has been constructed too.” These stadiums were not being used because there was no international cricket in the country. We will visit these stadiums in the next few months.
On the possibility of organising a cricket match in Hyderabad, he said that a lot of work has to be done to get the cricket stadium in shape for the matches. “There is no electricity there and the infrastructure is not so good. There are no hotels in Hyderabad. The cricketers want to stay in five-star hotels with swimming pool facilities. We will try to organise a match there,” he added.
He also spoke on promoting women’s cricket as well. “Women’s cricket is my first priority. There are a lot of talented women cricketers whom cannot be undermined.”
However, the cricket board’s chief stated that it is impossible to organise a super league for women cricketers at the moment. “The pool of women’s cricket is very small and less than 50 women are playing at the moment.”
Pakistan paid twice the amount of money for hosting fixtures in Dubai, he said. “It is necessary to host fixtures in Pakistan if we have to improve the cricketing structure in the country.”
Mani added that only a single meeting of the cricket committee has taken place and the board is working on their recommendations.
Hailing Najam Sethi’s services for making PSL a successful event, he said that his predecessor had worked a lot for making the tournament what it is today. He claimed that they had invited him to watch the PSL fixtures but didn’t get any reply from him.
PCB Managing Director Wasim Khan, speaking in the press conference, said that they are capable of providing high-level security to the teams. “The delegation of cricket boards of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh were satisfied with the security plans. We will try to arrange a bilateral series against Sri Lanka in Pakistan,” he said.