In a meeting held in Dubai on Monday between the Pakistan Super League (PSL) management and the owners of the team franchises, it was decided that the final for the tournament will be held in Lahore.
Earlier, due to security concerns following the Feb 13 suicide bombing in Lahore which killed 13, there had been speculation that the PSL final may not be held in Pakistan after all.
Nonetheless, PSL Chairman Najam Sethi had promised cricket fans that the final would still be held in Lahore, in the absence of foreign players, if the fans did not want the venue to change following last week’s bombing.
“The foreign players have refused to play the final in Lahore after Monday’s blast, but if the citizens of Pakistan want the PSL final to be held in Lahore […] then the final will be held in Lahore,” Sethi had said in his statement.
Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, said on Monday that they decided to remain on the same page with the PSL in the national spirit.
“Cricket is what unites the nation. Our decision on the final was made in the meeting with PSL Chairman Najam Sethi.”
On Sunday, star player Shahid Afridi had also urged the authorities that PSL’s season two final be held in Pakistan.
“The final, as announced, should be held in Pakistan, with or without international players,” he had said in a post-match press conference.
“This is about respect, we can play with our local players, but I request overseas players who have supported PSL to also come to Pakistan and continue their support,” he had added.
“Pakistan Cricket Board should look at the situation, and if things are not working out [in Lahore], we have options,” he said. “We have the Pindi stadium, we have a stadium in Karachi. I hope the cricket board will take a good decision.”
PSL will give franchisees the option to draft new players in case contracted international stars opt out of the March 5 final at Lahore due to security reasons.
“On Feb 22, we will do a new draft… we will put a formula in front of all the franchises and foreign players to let us know who will play the final in Lahore and who will not come,” Sethi had said earlier.
International stars, including West Indies batsman Chris Gayle, Shane Watson of Australia and England’s Twenty20 captain Eoin Morgan, are among 30 foreign players contracted to the five teams in the PSL Twenty20 tournament.
Sethi said he had also been in contact with several foreign players who indicated they would still be willing to play the final in Lahore.
“We are in touch with other foreign players so that we could replace those (contracted international) players who are not willing to play in Lahore.”
Quetta Gladiators batsman Kevin Pietersen, who hails from England, had earlier said he had yet to decide whether to come to Pakistan or not if the PSL final is played in Lahore.
“I haven’t decided to go or not as yet, I will take the decision regarding coming to Pakistan if my team reaches the final,” said Pietersen.
Courtesy: Dawn News