According to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) chairman Najam Sethi, the bomb blast in the Lahore city has made it difficult for foreign players to feature in the final match of the event, which was set to be played at Gaddafi Stadium on March 9.
The calamity, which so far has claimed 13 lives, occurred in Lahore’s busiest Mall Road during a rally attended by people who were protesting against changes to a drug sale law on Monday (February 13).
Speaking to a private news channel, Sethi, who has spoken with confidence on many occasions that Lahore can safely host a match, conceded that he is now unsure of foreign players’ availability for the finale.
“Obviously people will be more wary and scared,” Sethi said. “So right now to say whether we can convince them easily is very difficult. Now I will have to start all over again. I cannot say that we will be successful or not because they have families, they will have their associations which will guide them.”
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Sethi also said he personally wished to see the final in Lahore, even if that means without foreign players. He concluded that we have to show terrorists that we are not scared and we can bring cricket back to Pakistan.
“I agree with this and this is my thought. I also think that these terrorists cannot think they can threaten us like this, that they can stop our businesses, stop our lives. No. We will stand firm, we will fight, we will do this. In that matter this is my resolve and I can see it is the resolve of every Pakistani, and their desire of having the final in Lahore. This is our stance. I think the Punjab government will be the same.
“But the situation is this that the question Pakistanis have to answer is if the foreign players do not agree to come to Lahore, or a lot of them don’t, should we still have a final with just Pakistan players in Lahore, or should we have it with foreign players and do it in Dubai? This is the question the Pakistani public has to answer and whatever their wish we will see to it.” he said.
“My heart says we have to show the world. If foreign players come to Lahore then good and if they don’t, then with our Pakistani players we should have a PSL final in Lahore. But I want public opinion on this, I want cricket-lovers to tell me, cricket fans – what do they want? Whatever they want, we will do.”
Even since the PSL announced that the final will be hosted by Lahore, the question of whether the overseas players will attend it or not has loomed. Sethi also made effort to brief foreign players about the security situation in Lahore last week, just ahead of the start of the event in Dubai.
Previously, the PCB had also chalked out plans to hold another draft in February to replace those players who are unwilling to travel to Lahore due to safety reasons.
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