Mati Ullah Khan
The most-awaited Independence Cup begun on Tuesday with infinite excitement and hope that Cricket journey will continue uninterruptedly in Pakistan. But to what extend the upbeat nation will succeed to carry it on, will largely depend on Country’s peaceful environment.
Since 2009, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has managed to convince International Cricketers to visit Pakistan just twice – first in early 2017 for Pakistan Super League (PSL) final and now for Independence Cup, assuring them that terrorism has very much been purged of Pakistan and any untoward incident is ruled out.
But mere persuasion didn’t work as PCB as well as the Punjab government had to ensure stringent security measures to allay foreigners’ apprehensions. Both times – on the eve of PSL final and Independence Cup – security teams paid pre-event tours to Lahore to inspect the security arrangements.
In addition, PCB had to offer a huge amount to foreign players as part of efforts to gratify them for Pakistan tour.
As per reports, ongoing Independence Cup 2017 – which is made up of three Twenty 20s between Pakistan and World XI at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium from September 12 to September 15 – will cost PCB $2.5 million to $3 million.
Even for PSL final played at Gaddafi Stadium on March 5, 2017, PCB disbursed millions of rupees among foreign players in addition to match fees.
Newly elected PCB Chairman Najam Sethi has now announced that the board aims to hold Pakistan-World XI T20 series in next two years – 2018 and 2019 – as well.
No doubt Independence Cup is a ray of hope that International Cricket will certainly return to Pakistan soon as Sethi has already circulated the pleasant news of Sri Lankan and West Indian teams’ tours to Pakistan in coming months.
However, one prays that conducive environment continues to prevail in Pakistan and International Cricket’s return is genuinely made lucrative for the Country. Because fear-free and without-money-motivated tours by foreigners to Pakistan will be something extra-special and a bonafide recurrence of International Cricket in Pakistan.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.