LAHORE: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi is set to meet with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah today (Wednesday) to discuss preparations for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season three final.
The announcement is one of major significance and could propel the PSL into becoming one of the biggest cricket franchise leagues in the world. While it met with unexpected success in its first two seasons, this edition will be crucial given it is the PSL’s first attempt at expanding.
Not only have more international stars been added to the rosters to accommodate a new third team, the ‘Multan Sultans,’ many players have also agreed to play any matches that will be held in Pakistan.
The PCB chairman made the announcement on Tuesday, tweeting out the information. “I am meeting Sindh CM tomorrow to start preparations for PSL matches in Karachi. Wish me luck!” read Sethi’s tweet.
The high profile meeting is set to be conducted at the chief minister’s house at 11am and will be attended by the Provincial Sports minister as well as other relevant government officials.
It has also been learnt that the meeting is most likely just a formality given that the chief minister has already promised complete cooperation and full proof security for the event.
Karachi had been slated to host the final of PSL 3 during the closing ceremony of last year’s tournament, the final of which had been held in Lahore and was participated in by a large number of international cricket stars, and commentators. It was only the second instance of foreign players coming to Pakistan since the 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus.
And while the task had seemed a difficult one last year, the successful conclusion of the World XI tour indicates that Karachi too might be ready to host such a large scale event.
The authorities will also be confident of their ability to host the event given that the Sri Lankan cricket team has also agreed to play the final T20 of the ongoing series with Pakistan in Lahore, despite earlier reported reservations. Pacer Thisara Presera from Sri Lanka had already visited Lahore during the three-game Independence cup. The West Indies are also set to play a series in Pakistan come November.
Moreover, this might also assail some of the criticism that CM Murad Ali Shah had made about no cricket being played in Karachi. Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, also expressed his good wishes to the PCB chairman and the CM Shah as a gesture of goodwill.
“Best wishes. Hope to see international cricket in Karachi soonest!” he had been quoted as saying.
Fans of Pakistan cricket will be waiting eagerly for any announcement that Karachi has been finalised as the venue for the PSL final. Not only will this propel the PSL to new heights, last year’s problem of players being reluctant in visiting the country will not be as big either.
With the second season and the independence cup as precedent, players will be much more willing to comes, especially given the huge final game bonuses up for grabs.
Players such as Wayne Parnell and Imran Tahir have already said they will come to the country, and other new recruits including J P Dumminy, Darren Bravo, Luke Ronchi and Albie Morkel have all indicated that they would come to Pakistan if their team got into the final.