One might call it the dawn of a new era for cricket in the country as the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final has been given a green signal by the Punjab government to be held at the picturesque Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Mark the date on your calendars — March 5 — there will come a day when you will refer to it as the day international cricket was given a warm welcome back by the Pakistanis.
The step comes after nearly a month of speculations whether the Pakistan Cricket Board will be able to deliver on its promise of organising the grand final in Lahore.
The skepticism was fuelled by a blast in February near the Punjab Assembly, Lahore, which shook everyone awake from their dream of watching the PSL final in their city. After that, the famous shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan was attacked stirring up further doubts about the PSL final in the country.
However, the Punjab government on Monday, specifically Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif took a positive, counter-intuitive step and said the province is ready to provide ‘fool-proof’ security to the idea — a decision which might encourage international players to visit Lahore for the final.
A lot of pieces are still missing from the puzzle, which is the PSL final in Lahore: affirmations from foreign players, the security plan, the alternative draft for the teams who will reach the final and most importantly the teams will play in the final.
The playoffs are set to take place starting on Tuesday. PSL chairman Najam Sethi says teams will see who is joining them and who is not when they qualify for the final. That means we’ll have three matches to feast on before we worry about which foreign players are coming to Lahore.
All in all, the quality of cricket has been excellent in PSL till now with matches going down to the wire more often than not; let’s hope and pray the quality of security arrangements for the Lahore final match that level.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2017.
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