PSL final gets go-ahead; to be held in Lahore
What’s the story?
In a massive breakthrough for Pakistan cricket, the final of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League will be held in Lahore after the organizers received a thumbs up for Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
With the season still going on and the teams for the final yet to be decided, all the teams in contention for the final, agreed to play the game on the 5th of March at the iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Najam Sethi, PSL Chairman, said, "It's time the nation should show the world that we are a peace-loving nation, we are not going to be blackmailed by the terrorists. After the success of this event, international cricket will also return to Pakistan. We have to work hard for the next six days to make it a success.”
The PSL is currently taking place in Dubai, the venue for the first edition of the event as well. A number of international stars including the likes of global T20 superstars Chris Gayle and Kevin Pietersen are taking part in the second edition of the league.
Despite a proposal to organize the final in Lahore being tabled months ago, things took a turn for the worse when the city was rocked by bomb blasts a couple of weeks before the proposed final.
Pakistan have adopted Dubai as its unofficial home since international teams refused to tour the country after an attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team while on tour in Pakistan back in 2009.
There is plenty riding on the final of the PSL as the Pakistan Cricket Board recognized that its the perfect opportunity to showcase the nation's ability to organize a large-scale cricket match to the rest of the world.
There are a number of questions that are yet to be answered over the final. A number of international cricketers including Kumar Sangakkara have questioned the move, and will most likely, not take part in the final. Former Pakistan cricketer Imran Khan has also slammed the move and said the country is just not ready yet.
The PSL organizers, however, are vehement that the final will go ahead in Lahore and have even revealed that they have a number of international stars who will be willing to play the match should any of the current cricketers pull out.
Peshawar Zalmi take on Quetta Gladiators in the first qualifying game and Islamabad United face-off against the Karachi Kings in the other match. The top-2 teams will play the final at the Gaddafi Stadium on the 5th of March.
It is certainly a very bold move for the organizers of the PSL to want to conduct the final of their showcase league event in Pakistan given the cloud of uncertainty that surrounds security arrangements in Lahore. Given the bomb blasts earlier this month, the smarter move might be to organize the final in Sharjah and shift this plan for the next edition of the PSL.Published 28 Feb 2017, 11:49 IST