Broadcaster’s pull-out dampens mood ahead of PSL final

Published March 1, 2017
LAHORE: PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and PSL chief Najam Sethi inaugurate Grand Lounge at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.—M.Arif/White Star
LAHORE: PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan and PSL chief Najam Sethi inaugurate Grand Lounge at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.—M.Arif/White Star

LAHORE: Twenty-four hours after the Punjab government gave the go-ahead to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to hold the PSL final at the Gaddafi Stadium, the city of Lahore started getting abuzz with activities of army and political officials amid reports that PSL broadcasting company pulls out of final in Lahore.

There are reports that the Britain-based broadcasting company which has been airing PSL matches from the UAE has refused to come to Pakistan to broadcast the PSL final in Lahore due to security issues. However, a Dubai-based broadcasting company, as per the information, has been hired to broadcast the mega event.

On the other hand, much as the broadcasting issue hovered over the final of the cash-rich domestic league in Lahore, fans belonging to the provincial capital as well as those from other parts of the country came across hassles in buying ticket; with the PCB yet to give any specific details about the sale of tickets.

The cricket crazy fans kept on contacting PCB officials and media persons all day long to get information about the sale of tickets but failed to get any positive response.

PSL chairman Najam Sethi while welcoming decision of the Punjab government to allow the PCB to hold the PSL final had announced that tickets would be available online as well as at some specified outlets from Tuesday.

But it hardly gave any information in this regard with the PSL official website containing no information about the sale of tickets for the final in Lahore.

SECURITY personnel patrol the Gaddafi Stadium.—White Star
SECURITY personnel patrol the Gaddafi Stadium.—White Star

Besides broadcasting and ticket sale issues, the fans and the PCB are yet to know if foreign cricketers will come to Pakistan for the PSL final in Lahore. Amid all these uncertainties there came a surprising change at the Nishtar Sports Complex [housing the Gaddafi Stadium] with the authorities opting to open all four gates of the complex which remained locked throughout the day due to visits by army, rangers and police officials.

On the other hand, the PCB has finally succeeded in inaugurating the newly-built Grand Lounge at the College End after almost nine years.

The Grand Lounge is a well-furnished enclosure named after Pakistan’s two celebrated fast bowlers in Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis with its the second floor containing media boxes while the third floor will house PCB departments to be shifted later on.

Inaugurating the Grand Lounge, PCB chairman Shaharyar Khan, who was accompanied by Sethi, said that the PSL final would help in creating unity among Pakistanis as people belonging to all walks of life are interested in it.

The PCB chief was all praise for the PSL chairman stating that Sethi deserved appreciation for his work carried out in the successful conduct of the PSL, adding that both federal and provincial governments lent a very helping hand to the PCB. The PSL final in Lahore was important since it would help in opening the gate for the international cricket in Pakistan, he further said.

On the other hand, when asked high rates of tickets would be out of the reach of public, the PSL chairman said a ticket worth Rs500 would be available for the general public. Sethi also claimed that at least four foreign cricketers with each team of the final would arrive in Lahore.

However, he urged fans to bring their original national identity card along with the ticket to get entrance into the stadium. There are also reports that the prime minister, chief ministers of all four provinces, army chief and many other VIPs are expected to watch the final.

However, it must be mentioned the PTI and PPP have expressed their reservations over holding of the final in Lahore.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2017

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