KARACHI: Pakistan Super League (PSL) Chairman Najam Sethi, yesterday, reiterated the T20 league’s stance that the final of the second edition would be held in Lahore despite concerns from the international players’ association, FICA, that it posed ‘security risks’ for the players.
Just a day after it was announced that the PSL’s title-deciding game will be played in Lahore, FICA Chief Executive Tony Irish, in an interview, claimed that ‘playing cricket in Pakistan for foreign teams and players constitutes an unacceptably high security risk’ citing independent security consultants.
He also deemed the risk of playing cricket in Pakistan as ‘unmanageable’.
But Sethi brushed aside such concerns claiming that the plan to hold the final in Lahore will go as planned.
“Our decision to hold the PSL final in Lahore stands,” Sethi told The Express Tribune. “We are confident that all foreign players, whose teams reach the final, will be there in Lahore.”
No major Test playing nation has visited Pakistan since the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.
The situation has improved in recent years as the country successfully carried out the Zimbabwe series last year and also hosted an exhibition match in Karachi featuring big names of the game including Sri Lanka great Sanath Jayasuriya.
Currently, Lahore is playing host to Australian Army cricket team.
It is believed that the PSL final, if staged in Lahore successfully, will be a major breakthrough in PCB’s bid to bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
‘Arrangements already under way’
An official close to the matter revealed that preparations to stage the final in Lahore have already started.
“They [FICA] are the usual naysayers and such statements don’t matter,” revealed an official who wished not to be named. “We are already in touch with the security agencies including the army to formulate a foolproof plan for hosting the final.”
He further added, “We are hoping for a successful final which will prove Pakistan is not a risky place to play cricket for foreign teams.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2016.