According to the Pakistan Super League (PSL) chairman Najam Sethi, the owners of the all five PSL franchises have agreed that they will travel to Lahore if they qualify for the final, which is scheduled for March 5.
It is learned that the PSL management held a meeting with franchises on Monday (February 20) where they briefed them about the security arrangement made for the smooth conduct of the match at Gaddafi Stadium.
Even though the PSL has said right from the start that the PSL final will be staged in Lahore, their stand is weakened by the series of the terrorists’ attacks in Pakistan over the course of last 10 days, especially the attack at Chairing Cross in Lahore that claimed 13 casualties.
But the support from the Punjab Government and, more importantly, the security assurances from the Army meant the PSL is confident to host the finale as per scheduled.
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“It has been heartwarming to see the dedication of all the owners to the cause of taking cricket back home,” PSL chairman, Najam Sethi said in a statement.
“There is a realization that this final will be the first step in opening the gates to international teams starting to make the journey again. We are all committed to this mission and wish to have a thoroughly entertaining final where it should happen – in Lahore.”
While talking to ESPN Cricinfo, the owners of the Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars raised their concerns regarding the security of players and general public if the match is to be played in Lahore.
“We are positive about the PSL final but we will have to convince our players,” Salman Iqbal, the owner of the Karachi franchise, said to ESPNcricinfo.
“But in principle we are looking forward to playing the final in Lahore in case our team qualifies for it. It’s premature to say right now which team is going to play the final but we have given our consent. After all only eight [foreign] players need to make a trip and it’s not impossible to convince them and I am sure all will be good.”
“We are actually concerned about the general public’s safety, otherwise we are convinced that our players will be taken care and they will have the top security,” Sameen Rana, CEO of Lahore Qalandars, said to ESPNcricinfo.
“But they [the public] are also our stakeholders and it’s for the crowd that we are making it, so what about their safety? We were given a line by Najam Sethi that he has all the assurances from the government and forces to make it possible, and every single person is important and will be taken care of. So we trust them and agreed to play the final in Lahore.”
It is also learned that the teams have been given names of the foreign players who, the PCB says, are willing to travel the country. Another draft is likely to be hosted by the PCB before the summit clash to replace those players who opt out due to safety reasons.
Featured Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)