Within days of assuming charge, energetic chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board Najam Sethi has announced two major steps towards restoration of international cricket in Pakistan. First, a short visit by the Sri Lankan team and, second, a tour by the West Indian cricket team.
Sethi was already working on the project of World XI team’s tour to Pakistan, which he has now confirmed will visit the country in September.
In mid-February, when everyone involved in Pakistan cricket was busy with the Pakistan Super League in UAE, back home a powerful explosion had hit a Sufi shrine in Sehwan, while another explosion targeted policemen in Lahore.
With these two terrorist attacks, the dream of bring cricket back home (the Pakistan Super League final at that time) appeared to have been shattered into countless pieces. But, with the tireless efforts of the PCB, PSL management, and PSL franchise owners, the dream became reality and the PSL final was successfully held in in Lahore.
That PSL final wouldn’t have been possible if Najam Sethi, the head of PSL, would not have taken a firm position along with the support of the Pakistan Army, who made sure that all the security arrangements were properly in place.
The participation of top West Indian players, including Darren Sammy, was the icing on the cake as Peshawar Zalmi lifted the trophy in front an electrifying crowd, chanting ‘Pakistan Zindabad!’.
The PSL final wasn’t just any cricket match for Pakistan—it was more than that!
It was an opportunity for PCB and the Pakistani government to showcase its ability to provide top-level security to visiting teams.
Security managers from various boards and the International Cricket Council (ICC) were present in Lahore at the time of the PSL final to witness the security arrangements. The visits by the Sri Lankan and West Indian teams and the World XI tour, all these have made possible today only because Pakistan showcased high-level security arrangements during the PSL final in Lahore.
One may disagree with Najam Sethi on various accounts, but his determination to bring cricket back to Pakistan is commendable. Had he given up on the PSL final in Pakistan in February following the two terrorist attacks, things would not have been as easy as they seem now.
Give credit when it’s due, and Najam Sethi definitely deserves credit for this.
With Sri Lanka and West Indies agreeing to tour Pakistan, the fans at home have got a lot to cheer about.
Simultaneously, fans and the administration have great responsibilities on their shoulder. It is everyone’s responsibility to make these visiting cricketers feel safe in Pakistan, with our security and hospitality.
Hope all goes well and, once again, we get the opportunity to chant ‘Pakistan Zindabad!’ and ‘Jeetayga Bhaye Jeetayga, Pakistan Jeetayga!’ slogans at our stadiums.