Sports

Better Safe Than Sorry

Written by Omair Alavi

By: Omair Alavi Pakistan Super League is doing well in United Arab Emirates and spectators are loving both the high and low scoring matches of the second edition. For them, watching Kevin Pietersen in the flesh is a treat; sharing the ground with Sir Viv Richards is a dream come true. But Pakistan Cricket Board’s…

SAMAA | Omair Alavi – Posted: Feb 20, 2017 | Last Updated: 4 years ago

By: Omair Alavi

Pakistan Super League is doing well in United Arab Emirates and spectators are loving both the high and low scoring matches of the second edition. For them, watching Kevin Pietersen in the flesh is a treat; sharing the ground with Sir Viv Richards is a dream come true. But Pakistan Cricket Board’s insistence on arranging the final in Lahore is not a well thought out decision; it is more like a decision that school kids take when they are in a situation they don’t know who to get out from!

We will have the final in Lahore, with or without Foreign players … what kind of decision is that! People following the league are following it because of these players from other countries, otherwise they could have followed the National T20 Cup that is played annually without any fanfare. PCB and PSL management must realize that you can’t dictate these professional who don’t want to risk their lives to appease you!

Secondly, is Lahore a safe city for Cricket? No it is not because a) it was at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk where terrorists freely attacked the Sri Lankan Cricket team in 2009, b) During the Pak – Zimbabwe series, there was a security lapse (some say it was a blast) the news of which was hushed hushed as it was a matter of national pride. The stadium is 15 minutes away from the hotel where foreign teams stay but the problem is that not much has changed since 2009. The same government and the same officials (more or less) serve in both the Provincial Government and the Police Department, hence it is not much different. The foreign players are not to be blamed for not saying yes to PSL Final in Lahore and that’s the reason why the Board is offering them $ 10,000 extra to come and play in Lahore.

My argument is that Karachi is a much safer city for Cricket than Lahore or even Rawalpindi because in Karachi, when a match takes place, the whole city becomes one. Who can forget the quarter final of the 1996 World Cup or the matches involving India, Sri Lanka and other cricket teams in the last 20 years. The final of Asia Cup between India and Sri Lanka in 2008 was also held in Karachi as was the last complete Test match in Pakistan (in which Younis Khan scored 313 runs). Yes, it was Karachi’s famous PIDC Chowk where a bomb blast took place in 2002, due to which the New Zealand team had to abandon tour because of it; the target however were the French naval technicians 10 of whom died in the blast.

Karachi has changed since then and now from the hotel to the stadium, they get a signal free corridor when a match is played there. There is hardly any cuts on the route and the players can reach the stadium in no time. If PSL final is awarded to Karachi, they will not need much preparation as well because the National Stadium isn’t in that bad a condition. However, I would advise against that too because due to recent attacks all over Pakistan, things are a little tense here.

We should have the final in United Arab Emirates this year; Pakistan still needs to beef up its security and when people living in Lahore and Karachi can’t feel safe, how can the foreigners. Playing the final in Multan or Faisalabad might be a good option too but neither of the cities has a team in the event. It should either be Karachi or Lahore, or United Arab Emirates because it’s better to be safe, than sorry.

About the author

Omair Alavi