Mandatory for players to participate in Quetta exhibition match: Sethi

Several players scheduled to play in the match are currently in Bangladesh for BPL

M Muzamil Asif
An undated photograph of PCB de-facto chief Najam Sethi. — AFP/File
An undated photograph of PCB de-facto chief Najam Sethi. — AFP/File  

The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management committee, Najam Sethi, has sent a clear message to all players instructing them that their participation in an exhibition match — scheduled in Quetta before Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 8 — is mandatory.

Quetta Gladiators — under the captaincy of Sarfaraz Ahmed — and Peshawar Zalmi — led by Babar Azam — are scheduled to play an exhibition match at Quetta's Bugti Stadium on February 5.

Team purple also features Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Umar Akmal, and other local players.

Whereas, team yellow includes star all-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Haris, Danish Aziz, and Saim Ayub alongside their other local players.

However, a number of Pakistan players are participating in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and are not in the country. PCB has already asked them to come back to the country by early February.

Wahab, Iftikhar, Naseem, Haris, and Saim, who are named in the squads for the exhibition match, are also currently playing in BPL.

Following the reservations of players on returning from BPL, Sethi, while speaking at a local event on Saturday, strictly asked them to support the national interest.

“The decision to host an exhibition match in Quetta was to put a soft image of Balochistan which is considered a ‘troubled province’. This match is in our national interest and we all have to make it successful,” said Sethi, adding that hosting a PSL match in Quetta couldn't be possible.

“Franchises have told me that some of their players are not willing to come back from BPL. There are 4-5 players who have requested to let them complete their BPL contract. But, I want to give a clear message, they have to come back as we want them for our national interest.

"It's our contractual right that whenever we want our players, we can call them back anytime from anywhere. This happens all around the world. I know they want to earn money by completing their contract, but we need them to fulfil our national interest,” Sethi reiterated.

The management committee chairman also requested team owners Nadeem Omar (Quetta Gladiators) and Javed Afridi (Peshawar Zalmi) to provide every possible support to host a match in Quetta.

“Fans in Quetta are so excited about this match. We can’t let them down. We will celebrate this match to the fullest,” said Sethi.

“Please, we need your support. We can’t afford any hurdle,” he told franchise owners.

The exhibition match, in the build-up to the PSL 8, will be played on February 5, which is also observed as Kashmir Day countrywide. 

Tickets for the match will go on sale from January 30 and are priced at Rs20 each. Fans can buy tickets from Bolan Cricket Stadium, Bugti Stadium, Jan Mall, Mariabad (Gulzari Travels), and Airport Road (Almehmood Mart).