LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Sunday confirmed that the final of this year’s Pakistan Super League would be held in Lahore on March 9.
The PCB has confirmed that they are now working on the plans to bring the international players to the country, and if the players are not comfortable with the security arrangements, the PCB is also working on backup plans to replace these players.
International cricket stalled in Pakistan since the attack on Sri Lanka team bus back in 2009. Only Zimbabwe became the full member team to tour Pakistan in 2015 for a short series.
In order to revive international cricket in the country, the PCB has also extended an invitation to West Indies to tour Pakistan for a two-match T20 series in Lahore. However, the tour is subject to security clearances from the West Indies Players’ Association.
FICA, the international cricketers’ association, has however issued a statement which clearly indicates that there is a considerable security threat to players in Pakistan and thus the international players should refrain from touring the country.
Ever since the second season of the PSL was unveiled, PCB chief Najam Sethi had said that the finals would be in Lahore. The board has also taken several steps to bring this plan to the fore, and they have now received security clearances from the Punjab government.
The board has also bought four bulletproof buses, as they do not want to leave anything to chance. They also hope that this would help in building confidence measures and in convincing players to tour the country. Also, the players have been briefed about the fly-in, fly-out arrangements for the team.
The PCB is also trying to convince players to travel to Pakistan but if their efforts do not yield results they will have a new draft in place to replace these players.
The board has also decided that if no International players travel to Pakistan, they would play the finals with local players.
Sethi, who was lauded for the successful completion of the first year of the PSL, sounds optimistic of bringing international players to Pakistan. However, if FICA recommendations are anything to go by, the international stars could find themselves in a real muddle.
Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2017