After a long gap of 12 years, Multan is set to host a high-profile cricket match with home team Multan Sultans taking on Peshawar Zalmi in their HBL Pakistan Super League match on Wednesday.
After the Pakistan Cricket Board announced that the PSL will be staged in the country in its entirety, Multan was selected to host three matches while Rawalpindi — for the first time as well — and Karachi and Lahore were finalised as the other venues.
As the City of Saints expects three action packed fixtures featuring their home side, the atmosphere is festive. Huge signboards and promotional artwork have also been placed at different locations of the city.
With only three out of 34 PSL matches to be played at the venue, the fans’ desperate pursuit for tickets is another theme of cricket coming back to Multan
The PCB officials and local administration are under immense pressure due to the demand for tickets and hence it can be safely said that stands at the Multan Cricket Stadium are going to be filled to their capacity on matchdays.
The stadium, which was inaugurated has hosted high-profile international teams in the past. Pakistan have played the likes of West Indies, India and South Africa at the venue which is termed as the most beautiful in the country. Bangladesh were the last international side to visit in 2008.
Another special feature of the stadium is the proximity of the stands to the playing field, which provides fans the chance to experience cricket up close.
“People are hungry to watch cricket here,” Khurram, a former first-class cricketer from Multan told Dawn. However, he believed Multan should have been given at least five matches.
For Sanaullah, an avid cricket fan, it hasn’t been possible to manage a ticket costing Rs500 despite visiting several of the ticket purchase centres designated by the PCB.
Despite the difficulties, fans are hopeful Multan Sultans will put up a good show against Zalmi, Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators at home.
“God willing, Multan Sultans will be victorious in all three home matches,” an excited fan Rana Anjum said.
The Inzamam-ul-Haq, Fazal Mahmood, Imran Khan and Zaheer Abbas enclosures have seating facility, the remaining Wasim Akram, Ellahi Brothers and Mushtaq Ahmad Enclosures still need installation proper seats.
Unlike, Lahore, Karachi and Rawalpindi, the people of Multan are not facing much difficulty due to heavy security arrangements since the venue is located in the outskirts of the city.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2020