(Clockwise) A VIEW of the glittering fireworks display during the opening ceremony of PSL-7 at Karachi’s National Stadium on Thursday. Atif Aslam and Aima Baig render the signature song. Cricket lovers queue up to enter the stadium hours before the match started. An Army helicopter flies over the ground as part of the security.—INP / Tahir Jamal-White Star / PPI
(Clockwise) A VIEW of the glittering fireworks display during the opening ceremony of PSL-7 at Karachi’s National Stadium on Thursday. Atif Aslam and Aima Baig render the signature song. Cricket lovers queue up to enter the stadium hours before the match started. An Army helicopter flies over the ground as part of the security.—INP / Tahir Jamal-White Star / PPI

KARACHI: The message of the HBL Pakistan Super League anthem resonated across the National Stadium on Thursday as Pakistan marked the opening of the seventh edition of its glitzy T20 extravaganza by looking forward to a glorious cricketing future.

Pakistan’s stunning rise as a star-studded unit last year has raised expectations and superstar artists Atif Aslam and Aima Baig performing ‘Agay Dekh’ was a fitting celebration of the team’s recent successes and a harbinger of what can be expected from it in the future.

The ceremony held ahead of the season-opener bet­ween defending champions Multan Sultans and 2020 winners Karachi Kings, however, was not all about the present and the future. It also celebrated the past.

The ceremony kicked off with a video clip which had Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ramiz Raja narrating the story of the sport in the country since the national side’s first outing back in the 1950s.

The video reminded the fans in the stadium and ones watching on television screens and live streaming platforms of Pakistan’s glory days from the 70s to the 90s and also its struggle following the 2009 terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team in Lahore.

It also paid tribute to former Pakistan skipper and head coach Misbah-ul-Haq for captaining the side during a challenging time when the team was deprived of playing at home while it also faced other off-field controversies.

The fans were also enthralled by a paragliding performance by Red Bull athletes Florian Greger, Paul Steiner and Stefan Muller from HSV Red Bull Salzburg, one of the best parachuting clubs in Austria.

The trio dived from as high as 5000ft in the sky from a Mi-17 aircraft, but it was a bit of a disappointment for the spectators when they landed outside the stadium on the training ground within its premises.

The performance was followed by that of Atif and Aima, after which another video, which was reportedly leaked a few days ago, was played on the big screen installed in the stadium.

It showed Ramiz inviting Prime Minister Imran Khan to formally open the PSL season. According to some onlookers, the video had an uncanny resemblance to one that was played in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, featuring Queen Elizabeth and James Bond hero Daniel Craig.

The fireworks that followed, though, made the crowd — restricted to 25 per cent due to the Covid-19 enforced restrictions — quickly forget the lack of originality in the video. And with a loud roar, the fans welcomed the start of the new season.

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

27 May, 2022

After the march

FORMER prime minister Imran Khan either ‘ran away’ from Islamabad or made a temporary, strategic retreat. It...
A tough decision
Updated 27 May, 2022

A tough decision

Decision to raise fuel prices will remove a major hitch of concluding a staff-level agreement with IMF.
27 May, 2022

Xinjiang files

QUESTIONS about the status of the Muslim Uighur people in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region often arise, with...
Dark days
Updated 26 May, 2022

Dark days

The PTI, on its part, does not seem to have been prepared to face such a large deployment of state machinery.
26 May, 2022

No room for dissent

WHILE political turmoil roils the land, a number of incidents over the past few days have demonstrated that though...
26 May, 2022

Harassing passengers

REPORTS of the confiscation of personal items from passengers’ private luggage by customs officials at Karachi’s...