The stage is set to host the Sri Lankan cricket team for one-off T20 match at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium today (Sunday). Although Pakistan have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series in the UAE, the successful holding of the third match in Lahore will strengthen the profile of the country (in terms of being able to host the foreign teams).
Things went awry when eight years ago, terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team at Liberty Chowk and it led to termination of international cricket teams’ visits to Pakistan. The country, however, broke its isolation when it started playing foreign teams in the UAE -- a home away from home for Pakistan cricket.
Now the PCB has started to win back the confidence of the foreign teams; during the last few years, Pakistan hosted Kenya (2014), Zimbabwe (2015), an all-important final of the Pakistan Super League 2017 and World XI in September this year. But it is widely believed there is still a long way to go to be able to invite any team for full-fledged tour because Lahore is the only venue approved by the ICC for any international activity for the time being.
A full series will be possible only when Pakistan will be in a position to hold matches in Karachi, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad and Peshawar besides Lahore.
It is with this backdrop in mind the decision of the Sri Lankan cricket team should be welcome. Quite appreciably the PCB has decided to bring down the prices of the tickets as the most expensive one costs Rs5,000 and the second highest price is Rs3,000. It had fixed prices of Rs12,000 and Rs8,000 for the VIP enclosures for each match of the T20 series against the World XI.
A good number of cricket lovers are expected to throng the stadium to enjoy their holiday. The government claims to have made elaborate arrangements including those to ensure security for the match and to facilitate the spectators inside and outside the stadium.
Before the start of the match, a meeting of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) is also being held in Lahore which will be presided over by its chairman, Najam Sethi (who is also chairman of the PCB). India is also a member country of the ACC but no BCCI official confirmed his participation to attend it.
The season of the Lahore Polo Club started with the first tournament named Pink Polo Cup organised by Shaukat Khanum Hospital this past week. The Lahore Polo Club has not yet announced the entire calendar of its activities for 2017-18 but it has a tradition of holding 28 tournaments every year in the season. No other sport organisation of Pakistan has such a huge level of activity in one season and for it the credit goes to the management of the club.
The premier event of the LPC is Quaid-i-Azam Gold Cup National Polo Championships which attract lot of attention of the spectators, sponsors and the media. The LPC has been working since 1928 at the same place and it has its own resources to run its activities.
The Punjab Olympic Association (PbOA) is going to organise the 8th Lahore Inter-School and Inter-Collegiate Games in 30 sports of boys and girls from Nov 1 to 5.
The association secretary, Khwaja Idrees, claimed that 320 schools and colleges (mostly private) had confirmed their participation. The Punjab government did not allocate any funds to support the PbOA and it had raised its own resources, he said.
Mr Idrees said the significant fact about the 8th edition was that some schools from out of Lahore have also confirmed their participation. He said the PbOA was trying to promote the sports culture at the school and college level. He said the participation of schools and colleges had been increasing after every edition and it showed a positive response from the educational institution.
He said the PbOA had the plan to expand the circle of the games to other districts of Punjab but a lack of resources was a hurdle in this way.
Anumber of golfers are in Lahore to compete in the 34th Millat Tractors Governors Punjab Golf Tournament which is in progress at Lahore Gymkhana course. More than 240 golfers including amateurs are contesting for the top positions in their respective categories. It will conclude today (Sunday).
Prominent among the participants are Wazir Ali, Salman Jehangir, Mohsen Zafar, Qasim Khan, Ahmed Zafar Hayat, Sardar Murad Khan, Murad A Khan, Waleed Zubair, Taimoor Shabbir (all from Gymkhana), Ayaz Saleem (Garrison), Hussain Hamid (Royal Palm), Fakhar Imam (Defence Raya), Azhar Majeed (Peshawar) and Zain Tareen (Islamabad Golf Club).
Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2017