LAHORE: Recent completion of eight HBL PSL season 4 matches in Karachi are an indication that, “Pakistan Cricket Board’s credibility has hit a new level,” PCB Chief Ehsan Mani said on Monday, adding that the Board is now being, “taken seriously” on the international rank.
PCB Chief was speaking to a press conference in Lahore very next day to the PSL final in which Quetta Gladiators defeated Peshawar Zalmi at the National Stadium Karachi.
PCB Chief said that biggest “endorsement” came from the arrival of 39 to 40 foreign players in Pakistan. “Add support staff to it and the number reaches 150 people. Our credibility — and International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO David Richardson also [corroborated] this — in the international world has reached a new level. Now when we say something, we are taken seriously and believed,” he said.
“The most impressive bit was how the Karachi crowd supported us. Some 200,000 came to watch these matches, and from what I believe, 150 million saw the matches on TV,” said Mani, adding that it was a incredible endorsement for PSL. “Due to the geo-political situation, it was important that we demonstrated that Pakistan is capable of holding such an event,” he said.
PCB Chief said it was initially suggested to him to hold only five matches in Karachi but he instead vowed to hold more matches in Pakistan. “And the credit goes to the local administration for mobilizing their resources on just a few days’ notice. Everyone supported us and no one said that this would be too much as this was a matter of national pride,” he said.
Sharing his thoughts on the New Zealand incident, Mani said the incident signifies that terrorism is not only problem of Pakistan but is a global hazard. “People forget that we are also the victims of terrorism. Now the world knows what challenges are there. Pakistan’s problems are not different to anyone else’s,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean we should gloat. We will work with them and share our experiences but cricket should not stop. If cricket stops due to terrorism then it’s a victory for the terrorists. Players’ safety is of course important and cannot be risked but the game must go on too,” Mani said.
PCB Chief said he invited some foreign security experts in Pakistan so they can witness the security arrangements of PSL themselves. “In the midst of all this the New Zealand incident happened which gave the security experts an incentive to observe how we deal with terrorism in Pakistan while being a victim ourselves.”
On the closing ceremony, PCB Chief said it was “toned down” in order to respect the incident.”We observed a minute’s silence, released pigeons and cut out dancing. All the songs too were iconic Pakistani songs,” said Mani.
PCB Chief praised Islamabad United for their display of sportsman spirit by saying, “”In this sport, the spirit of cricket is of prime importance. One demonstration of this was done by Islamabad United. The Spirit of Cricket trophy they received, they dedicated it to Asif Ali, whose daughter is battling cancer.”