LAHORE: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Najam Sethi on Thursday called for nationwide support for the upcoming Independence Cup, which he reiterated would pave the way for resumption of international cricket in the country.
The Independence Cup, featuring three Twenty20s between Pakistan and a World XI side, begins from September 12 in Lahore and Sethi urged the nation to ensure it is a successful event.
“It’s not in my interest or the PCB’s but this [tournament] is in national interest and therefore I call upon everyone in the country to support us in making this a successful event,” Sethi said at a news conference while unveiling the logo for Independence Cup.
“If the World XI tour is a success, we could convince Sri Lanka to play another Twenty20 International to the one they’re already going to play and we are also trying that the West Indies play three Twenty Internationals.”
Flanked by the five sponsors of the event, Sethi added: “I can’t say the series will earn a profit but we will try to minimise the financial losses and also try to make some gains.”
The PCB chief also asked the media to play its part in the successful staging of the Independence Cup.
“There has been a lot of negativity on social media by some quarters despite the fact that we have top stars like Faf du Plessis, Hashim Amla and Darren Sammy in the World XI squad,” Sethi said.
“This event is not just about cricket but we have to show the world the soft image of the country to defeat terrorism. We should avoid any misreporting as it is going to be picked up by international media and may affect future tours of Sri Lanka and the West Indies.
“Security agencies have given us strict instructions that need to be followed by the media and we need your cooperation in implementing that.”
Sethi said that he was hoping that some matches could be played in Karachi but it wasn’t possible in the current circumstances.
“I was desirous of hosting some matches in Karachi but unfortunately that’s not possible at this point in time,” he said. “However, the ICC security team will visit Karachi to monitor the security situation and we will hold some PSL matches there before hosting international teams there.”
The country’s cricket head admitted that there had been problems due to high demand for tickets.
As the Bank of Punjab began its sale of tickets on Thursday, there were no Rs500 tickets — the lowest-priced tickets on offer — with most of them sold out at booths set up in posh areas of the city where people could easily afford tickets of higher price categories.
“Since the demand for the Rs500 ticket was so high, I’d suggested the marketing department to fix the minimum price at Rs1000,” Sethi said.
Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2017