PSL 2019: PCB officials express delight over international stars travelling to Pakistan for remaining matches

Cricket-mad Pakistan is welcoming a host of foreign stars who defied security fears and Indian-Pakistani tensions to feature in the last eight matches of its domestic Twenty20 League, starting in Karachi from Saturday.

Agence France-Presse, Mar 08, 2019 20:01:36 IST

Karachi: Cricket-mad Pakistan is welcoming a host of foreign stars who defied security fears and Indian-Pakistani tensions to feature in the last eight matches of its domestic Twenty20 League, starting in Karachi from Saturday.

The first 26 matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) were played in United Arab Emirates, and there had been speculation that remainder would also have to be held there as soaring tensions between Islamabad and New Delhi sparked fears of an all-out conflict.

But with the situation easing, the matches will go ahead, though three that had been planned for Lahore — close to the Indian border — will now be held in the southern port city of Karachi.

Some 40 foreign players — led by former Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, current New Zealand opener Colin Munro and West Indian stars Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard — arrive in Karachi Friday to join the six-team competition.

Watson, who plays for Quetta Gladiators but declined to visit Pakistan for the PSL final and three play-off matches in 2017, said he consulted his family before taking the trip.

"It was a tough decision to make," said Watson, who played 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is for Australia before retiring in 2016.

"It's been 14 years since I last visited Pakistan, a place with some of the most passionate fans in world cricket. Can't wait to give it our best shot in winning the trophy," Watson said in a video message released by the Gladiators.

He was part of the last Australian "A" team that toured Pakistan in 2005,

The chief executive of the International Cricket Council (ICC) David Richardson and Cricket Australia head of security Sean Carroll are among the foreign officials who are also set to visit.

'Delighted'

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani said the matches will help improve the country's chances of reviving international cricket.

"I am delighted to welcome the foreign players who have come here for the PSL and I am sure it will help us bringing more international matches to the country," said Mani.

Pakistan has gradually revived international cricket since it was suspended following attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore 10 years ago.

It was six years before Pakistan hosted any international cricket when minnows Zimbabwe toured in 2015, while the Gaddafi Stadium hosted the PSL final in March 2017, and a World XI also played three T20Is in Lahore.

Gradual return

But the biggest event was Sri Lanka's return for a one-off T20I in October 2017.

Mani said holding the remainder of the PSL this year, including the 17 March final, and a possible 16 PSL matches next year will add to the momentum.

"The perception that foreigners have about the safety situation in Pakistan will change and they will be satisfied with the security arrangements," he said.

Some 13,000 policemen and 2,500 para-military personnel will be on duty in Karachi, and police said fans will be required to show their tickets and national identity cards.

England's Liam Dawson, part of the Peshawar team, said he looks forward to playing before passionate crowds.

"I toured Pakistan last year and the atmosphere was unbelievable. We played three games and the crowd was electric," he recalled.

"It will be the same this time as well and I am happy to be part of that cricket revival."

Updated Date: Mar 08, 2019 20:01:36 IST


IPL 2019 POINTS TABLE

Pos. Team P W L D Pts.
1
Mumbai
14 9 5 0 18
2
Chennai
14 9 5 0 18
3
Delhi
14 9 5 0 18
4
Hyderabad
14 6 8 0 12
5
Kolkata
14 6 8 0 12
6
Punjab
14 6 8 0 12
7
Rajasthan
14 5 8 0 11
8
Bangalore
14 5 8 0 11
See Full Table





Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
6 Sri Lanka 3462 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5372 125
2 India 5669 121
3 South Africa 4488 115
4 New Zealand 3729 113
5 Australia 4342 109
6 Pakistan 3846 94
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
6 New Zealand 4056 254