Monday Feb 20, 2017
DUBAI: All the franchises participating in the Pakistan Super League have, in principle, agreed to play the PSL final in Lahore, as planned by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
In a high-level meeting chaired by chairman PSL Najam Sethi in Dubai on Monday, all the team owners took time to reinforce their solidarity and conviction with the decision of taking the final of the PSL back to its rightful home, the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore, which is also the head office of both the PCB and the PSL.
“It has been heart-warming to see the dedication of all the owners to the cause of taking cricket back home and there is a realisation that this final will be the first step in opening the gates to international teams starting to make the journey again. We are all committed to this mission and wish to have a thoroughly entertaining final where it should happen - in Lahore,” said Sethi while speaking of the meeting.
A source privy to the development told Geo.TV that the PSL management has assured the franchise owners of high-level security for the final in Lahore.
"Head of state level security shall be provided to the teams visiting Lahore for the final," said a source.
The PSL management further told the franchise owners that at least 50 players, currently not part of the PSL, have agreed to visit Pakistan for the final of PSL, if picked.
"Players who are willing to tour Pakistan will be paid an additional amount of $10,000 to $50,000 for travelling to Pakistan," said the source.
The owners of franchise Karachi Kings told the meeting that three of their team members, Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawerdene, have refused to visit Pakistan for the final.
The other franchises of the PSL told the meeting that they have yet to speak to the players on the issue.
They have now been told by the management to prepare a list of players who have agreed to visit Pakistan for the final.
The PSL management, after consulting with franchise owners, will arrange a re-draft for the players who are willing to visit Pakistan, on February 22 (Wednesday).
Clouds of uncertainty had loomed over the final of Pakistan’s T20 tournament following a new wave of terrorism which hit the country over the past week, in which over 100 people were killed and hundreds more injured. One of the terrorist attacks was carried out in Lahore on February 13, in which 14 people lost their lives.
Despite the fresh concerns over security which arose as a result, the PSL management and the franchise owners decided to hold the final in Lahore – a move aimed at bringing international cricket back to Pakistan and sending out a strong message to terrorists that their nefarious plans will not succeed.
The final of PSL 2017 will be played in Lahore on March 5.
PSL chairman Najam Sethi has extended invitation to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the Chief Ministers of all provinces for the PSL final in Lahore.
"PSL management and franchisees resolve to hold Final in Lahore. We invite PM, COAS and CMs to attend the match at Gadafi Stadium," Sethi tweeted on Monday.
PSL management and franchisees resolve to hold Final in Lahore. We invite PM, COAS and CMs to attend the match at Gadafi Stadium.— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) February 20, 2017
Lahore Qalandars CEO Rana Atif said all the franchises are on the same page regarding the PSL final in Lahore.
“We want to bring back happiness to the Pakistani people. This is Pakistan’s league and we are bringing it home,” Atif said while speaking to Geo.TV.
The CEO, who is just as excited as others about the Lahore final, said he is happy about cricket returning to the “heart of Pakistan” – as Lahore is commonly called.
Asked about whether Brendon McCullum and other overseas players were willing to travel to Pakistan, Atif replied that first, the team’s goal is to reach the playoffs.
“First our target is to reach the playoffs, then our goal will be to progress to the final,” he said.
Owner of PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi, Javed Afridi, has said most of the players in his team are ready to travel to Lahore for the final.
“PSL final should be held in Lahore. PSL is a product of Pakistan, and we stand by any decision that is taken in Pakistan’s favour,” Javed Afridi said.
Sources close to the matter informed that Zalmi captain Darren Sammy of West Indies and bowler Chris Jordan of England are ready to come to Pakistan.
This list was presented to franchise owners and comprises players who have agreed to visit Lahore for PSL final:
Anamul Haq Bijoy
Dawid Malan (Gold)
Morne van Wyk (Gold)
Sachitra Senanayake (Gold)
Seekuge Prasanna (Gold)
Jeevan Mendis (Silver)
Alex Wakely (Gold)
Joshua Cobb (Gold)
Fidel Edwards (Gold/Silver)
Elton Chigumbura (Gold/Silver)
Max Waller (Silver)
Darren Stevens (Gold)
Peter Trego (Silver)
Richard Levi (Gold/Silver)
Miguel Cummins (Silver)
Asghar Stanikzai (Gold)
Soumya Sarkar (Silver)
Jade Dernbach (Gold)
Owais Shah (Gold)
Yasir Arafat (Gold)
Rayad Emrit (Diamond)
Suleman Benn (Gold)
Brendan Taylor (Gold)
Rashid Khan (Diamond)
Ashar Zaidi (Silver)
Ryan ten Doeschate (Silver)
Akeal Hosein (Silver)
Graeme Cremer (Silver)
Sean Ervine (Silver)
Chamara Kapugedera (Gold)
Milinda Siriwardana (Gold)
Anuk Fernando (Gold)
Gihan Rupasinghe (Silver)
Kausal Silva (Silver)