Bomb blasts in Lahore puts the PSL final in jeopardy
What’s the story?
The controversy refuses to end for the ongoing Pakistan Super League. After being marred by the many reports of spot-fixing scandals, the league has taken another jolt when a bomb blast shook Lahore, which was the proposed venue for the finals this season.
The chairman of the league Najam Sethi has also spoken about this issue during his talk show with one of the Pakistan news channels and has conceded that it would now be difficult to hold the finals in Lahore.
"Obviously people will be more wary and scared - they were already and now will be more. 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," Sethi spoke during the talk show.
Ever since the PSL was unveiled this season, Lahore was announced the venue for the finals, a decision which did not resonate well with the many International players owing to security concerns. However, Sethi remained optimistic right through and even addressed the group of players before the league started in the Dubai. He maintained that even though many players were still not entirely committed they were given time to mentally prepare for the eventuality.
However, with the bomb blast, all the plans have been thrown into a colossal mess and as per the prevalent scenario, even the prospect of holding a final in Lahore seems to be a far-fetched deal. Sethi even made an appeal to the common people and asked them to cast their vote as to whether or not they want the final to be staged at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
He also proposed two options to the people: a final in Lahore with only Pakistan players or a final in Dubai with all the International stars.
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An explosion rocked Lahore’s busy Mall road on January 13 which has claimed 13 lives so far. The bomb went off during a busy rally which was attended by hundreds of pharmacists who were protesting against changes to a drug sale law outside the provincial assembly building.
Although Sethi sounded sceptic, he has also left the option of holding the going ahead with the finals in Lahore as according to him it would send a strong message to the terrorists.
Although the PCB maintains that they could host a final without the involvement of International players, the fact that these attacks could well signal the end of any participation from the foreign contingent could force them to bite the bullet and schedule the finals in Dubai itself.
Also, it would be interesting to see the response of the overseas players and their reaction to this attack.
The fact that the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) has already issued a warning about the security concerns in Pakistan could well compel the foreign players to call it quits as far as the finals are concerned. Their apprehension would only multiply after these attacks and hence it could all but end their involvement in the finals.