DUBAI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) is in full swing and the matches have been competitive so far but the crowd’s attendance in all the games has been low throughout the first quarter of the league despite the hype it has managed to generate back home.

Hamza Ahmed Khan, who works at a private engineering company in Sharjah, shares his opinion with Dawn that the low attendance has been due to the lack of PSL advertisement in the UAE.

“There are only a few billboards that are promoting the PSL here in Dubai and Sharjah,” says Khan. “Pakistanis alone constitute almost 12.5 per cent of the UAE’s population and yet there are hardly a few people in the stadium.”

Khan advises the people not to carry their cameras, phone chargers and power banks to the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with themselves.

“I took my camera with me when I went to see the match three days ago. I didn’t know that it was not allowed. I wasn’t told at the ticket counter that several items were prohibited. It was only after I looked at the ticket I realised that I had to keep it at the customer’s service counter and even they weren’t willing to take any responsibility in case it got lost,” says an annoyed Khan.

Logistical problems have also been highlighted by many fans alike. “The PSL management should arrange a shuttle service for the fans who are coming from far flung areas. I switch at least three buses before reaching the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. It costs me an additional 30 AED,” says Anwar Khan, a taxi driver.

“We usually have very hard targets to meet but when we do and have a day off, we go to the stadium to see our superstars. It’s sad how we spend ridiculous amount of money on transportation on top of the ticket price just to get a glimpse of our heroes. It’s a request to the relevant authorities to consider running the shuttle service to the stadium to accommodate the fans,” adds Anwar.

While the ticket prices aren’t too much and the matches at Sharjah should register a better turnout because of its low seating capacity and location, the empty seats at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium should serve the PCB a bitter reminder that the PSL needs to be fully brought back to Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2018