Islamabad - "Foolproof security" will be provided to
cricketers at the Pakistan Super League final in Lahore next month, league
chairman Najam Sethi said on Tuesday.
briefed overseas PSL players in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, a day before the
Twenty20 league begins. All of the PSL will be played in the Emirates except
for the final, which will be in Lahore on March 7.
in Lahore where the Sri Lanka team was attacked by terrorists in 2009. No major
teams have returned since then.
ago, the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations suggested
overseas players should decline to play in the final because "participant
security and safety cannot be expected or guaranteed." Just over a week
ago, Giles Clarke, who heads the ICC's Pakistan Task Team, went to Lahore at
Pakistan's request. He didn't make a recommendation, but said "there's a
considerable amount of perception that needs to be changed."
league has attracted the likes of New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, West Indies'
Darren Sammy, and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, and in an effort to ease player
worries about Lahore, Sethi told them of the government's security plans.
government has also made a huge investment in securing the city, and rest
assured we will provide foolproof security to the players who will travel for
the PSL final," Sethi said in a statement.
security consultants will travel to Dubai during the PSL "to allay the
doubts and fears of the players" about security in Lahore.
Akram, running Islamabad United in the PSL, reminded foreign players how six
cricketers each from Pakistan and India played in Sri Lanka before the 1996
Cricket World Cup, despite Australia and the West Indies forfeiting their group
matches in Sri Lanka due to security concerns.
played a positive role in 1996 that was warmly welcomed in Sri Lanka,"
Akram said. "It is imperative that cricket returns to the country,
Pakistanis are passionate about the game.
wife, who is an Australian, is staying in Karachi for the last four years and
she is having a great time ... the government will do everything possible to
ensure the safety of the players."
Raja, another former test captain turned television commentator, who lives in
Lahore, said if foreign cricketers played in the PSL final it will have a huge,
positive effect on Pakistan cricket fans.
perceptions about the place might be muddled, but I can assure you that the
players who will travel will be making a priceless contribution to Pakistan
cricket," Raja said. "Once you taste the flavour of cricket in the
country you will come to realize how welcoming the crowds are."