KARACHI: Former national captain Rashid Latif said that the successful staging of the 2nd Pakistan Champions League (PCL), which concluded on Saturday, has served as a timely reminder to the international cricket fraternity that the country is safe and ready to host international matches.
Pakistan has been deprived of top-flight international cricket since a gun attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in March 2009. Since then, attempts have been made to invite teams but efforts have gone in vain. However, Latif felt that staging the PCL will be a good omen in reviving top-flight international cricket.
“Dozens of matches were played in Karachi across 11 days and not a single incident of security lapse was reported,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “This is an answer to all those critics and lobbies who say that Pakistan is not safe for international sporting events. Our aim was to help Pakistan’s cause of bringing international cricket and reviving club cricket. Both purposes have been served successfully.”
The 43-year-old, the man behind the event, added that the foreign sides were satisfied with arrangements and expressed their desire to visit Pakistan again.
“The nation has suffered a lot and now it’s time that international teams open their hearts and come to Pakistan. If fool-proof security was provided for a club-level competition, there is no reason why we can’t go one step further for protection of international teams. This country has a huge fan base and it’s time that the International Cricket Council helped us.
“Nearly 25,000 turned out to watch the final while several didn’t get a chance to enter the stadium.”
Latif added that the PCL will be arranged on a bigger scale next time. The former wicket-keeper also advised the PCB to give Fata the status of a cricketing region.
‘PCL has given me new recognition’
Meanwhile, PCL champions Al-Noor Gymkhana’s opener Ejaz Shah, a prolific tape-ball batsman of Karachi for Nazimabad Kids, said that the tournament has given him a new identity.
“The PCL made it happen as my quick-fire 81 in the semi-final brought me into the limelight,” said Shah. “Very few people knew me before but after playing in front of a television audience, I’ve become a household name and that’s pleasing. Now the aim is to play for Karachi in the domestic T20 tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.
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