MAMOSA Report – Ahead of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Punjab capital Lahore on Sunday, the security around Gaddafi Stadium has been beefed up with thousands of law enforcement agency personnel being deployed to stand guard as cricket returns to Pakistan.
Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi face off in the final – expected have a high turn-around with millions also watching it on the electronic media.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday asked the Pakistan Cricket Board Chief Shaharyar Khan to excuse him for not being able to attend the upcoming final and thanked him for the invitation.
Khan said he won’t be able to come to the event but he prays the PSL tournament concludes without any incident.
Tomorrow’s deciding match is scheduled to be played in the city that fell prey to a recent surge in terror attacks across the country.
Khalid Mehmood, a former PCB chairman, in an interview to AFP said the match is the first step in the long process of rehabilitating Pakistan as a venue for international cricket.
“Either we should have cancelled the match, shut down the schools and everything and been scared of terrorists, or we should stand against this terrorism,” he said.
The stadium with a capacity of 27,000 spectators has been prepared for foolproof security — containers and check posts have been set up around the venue while a 25-bed hospital has been established at the stadium and another 7-bed set up at a local hotel in the vicinity.
With cricket returning to Pakistan after a long hiatus, renovations, repairs have been taking place in full swing.
The stadium has been divided into sections named after prolific former Pakistan cricket team players.
“It is quite unfair to have tickets priced at Rs12,000 with cricket being played in Pakistan after such a long time,” Khan was quoted as saying. “This is injustice with cricket fans.”
Khan further alleged that the PSL tournament had been turned into an event for the “elite”.
Meanwhile, Peshawar Zalmi all-rounder Shahid Afridi on Saturday confirmed he will be unable to play the final.
In a video message, the former Pakistan T20I captain said doctors have instructed him to rest for 10 days after he injured his right hand during the play-off match against Karachi Kings.
“I really wanted to play the PSL final in Lahore in front of my countrymen, but there are certain things which are not in my or anyone else’s power,” said Afridi.
The all-rounder suffered the injury on Friday while attempting to catch a drive from Kieron Pollard off Hassan Ali’s delivery. According to reports, he was immediately rushed for first aid and received 12 stitches in his right hand.