Canada’s Berry Cricket Club (BCC), comprising national players, has pulled out of the second edition of Pakistan Champions League (PCL) after three of its players, of Indian background, were denied visas by the Pakistan authorities.
The 32-team event, scheduled to launch on May 21 in Karachi, has a number of foreign teams taking part, thus increasing its popularity.
“BCC agreed to take part but three of their Indian players failed to get visas which means they won’t be coming here,” a member of the organising committee told The Express Tribune.
“MNA Syed Asif Hasnain contacted the higher authorities in Islamabad but to no avail.”
The organising committee then turned towards the US association and even agreed to pay half their air-fare but not getting a favourable response, Hong Kong’s national side was drafted in. Kuwait, Qatar, Dammam, Phoenix Medicine of the UAE, Riyadh Cricket Association of Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan Youth Cricket Club will be taking part in the event.
Meanwhile, Asif and Rashid Latif were involved in a meeting with the administrator and commissioner of Karachi along with other top officials on security arrangements during the event.
“We will provide fool-proof security from the hotels to the grounds and they will be in close vicinity of their hotels. Our aim is build a soft image of Pakistan so that sporting activities can resume. We want to tell the world that we are a sports and peace loving nation.”
Meanwhile, Asif lamented the lack of interest from the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
“The PCB Chairman Zaka Ashraf, and other top officials, are not answering our calls or replying to our messages and letters,” said Asif.
“We want to invite them for the event and want support. We are not their competitors and I request them to join hands for the sake of Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 12th, 2012.