Foreign experts on Sunday inspected security arrangements in Karachi, which is scheduled to stage the final of Pakistan’s Twenty20 league next month – the city’s first international match in nine years.
The third season of the Pakistan Super League starts in the UAE on February 22. The tournament will move to Pakistan for two play-offs on March 20-21 and the final in Karachi on March 25.
Security experts Reg Dickason and Richard Dennis witnessed a full dress rehearsal for the final in Karachi. They were also briefed by Pakistani security and government officials on the arrangements.
“Whatever we have witnessed today, it’s as good as I have seen in all my years of work but I can’t say a final word (on hosting the final) now and will submit my report within the next seven days,” Dickason told media.
The team’s report will be integral to paving the way for the final.
International cricket in Pakistan was suspended after a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore killed eight people and injured seven visiting players.
Pakistan’s national team has since played nearly all its home matches in the UAE. The country has been battling extremists for over a decade, and insurgents have carried out several high-profile attacks across the country.
Authorities have been trying to bring international cricket back to Pakistan.
The final of the PSL last year was played in Lahore. Some foreign players made the trip, but many stayed away because of concerns about security.
That was followed by three T20s against a World XI in September, and one T20 against Sri Lanka in October – all in Lahore.
Pakistan made unprecedented security arrangements for these matches, with 20,000 military and police officials guarding the visiting players and the stadium.
Karachi, the country’s largest city, last hosted an international match in February 2009 – a Test between Pakistan and Sri Lanka – a week before the Lahore attack.
All six PSL teams have foreign players in their squads for the third season. Each team can field a maximum of four foreign players per match.
Up and coming all-rounder Jofra Archer, who was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for $1.13 million at the IPL auction, has been drafted to play in next month’s Pakistan Super League (PSL).
Two time PSL finalists Quetta Gladiators picked fast-bowling all-rounder Archer as a replacement for Carlos Braithwaite, who will play for West Indies in the World Cup qualifiers in March.
Archer has created a lot of buzz this season in the Big Bash League, bowling at brisk pace and taking sensational catches.
His career strike rate of 143 from 21 innings with the bat only adds to his allure.
The 22-year-old from Barbados has played for the West Indies Under-19 team. But he holds a British passport and now wants to play for England. He will be eligible to do so only in 2022.
He initially proved his credentials playing for Sussex in the English county circuit, picking up 89 wickets and scoring 833 runs from 20 matches.
The third edition of the PSL begins from February 22 in Dubai. It was announced that some of the top stars signed up by the six franchises will be unavailable due to various reasons.
In the ‘replacement draft’ held in Lahore, all six franchises made changes to their teams.
Five players who had been drafted will miss the entire tournament – Mitchell Johnson, Carlos Brathwaite, Luke Wright, Angelo Mathews and Colin Munro. Johnson pulled out of the tournament because of personal reasons while Wright decided to skip the PSL over fitness issues.
West Indies opening batsman Chris Gayle was the biggest name to miss out during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) player draft that was held in Lahore last night.
None of the six franchises were interested in the services of the 38-year-old who looks well past his best in the shortest format.
Also, team owners were told Gayle will be available only for a part of PSL tournament as he is likely to be part of Windies’ World Cup 2019 qualifying rounds that will to be held in Zimbabwe during March-April.
The third edition of the PSL is slated to be held in the UAE and Pakistan (Lahore and Karachi) from February 23 to March 24 next year.
However, even if Gaylle was available for selection throughout the tournament, he is unlikely to have found many takers.
Gayle failed in the first edition of the PSL after managing just 103 runs in five matches for Lahore Qalandars.
He did relatively better in the second edition for Karachi Kings, scoring 160 runs in nine matches but it looks like the end of the road for him in the PSL.
“We were told that Gayle is partially available so that was one of the reasons, but even if he was available we would not have picked him because he is no more the Gayle force he once was,” a team owner was quoted as saying by Wisden.
As expected, hard-hitting Australian batsman Chris Lynn was the top pick during the player draft.
Lahore, who finished last in both editions, got the first pick and they went for Lynn, who has a T20 strike rate of 147 in 92 matches.
— Lahore Qalandars🏏 (@lahoreqalandars) November 12, 2017
Lahore now have potentiality the most destructive opening pair in the tournament in Brendon McCullum and Lynn. The Qalandars also bolstered their bowling line-up, picking T20 specialists Sunil Narine and Mustafizur Rahman.
Kiwi All-rounder Mitchell McClenaghan joined the Lahore squad as their supplementary player.
While Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans picked their top players in the first round, it was Islamabad United along with Lahore that finished looking menacing, on paper at least, given the depth of their squads.
Multan Sultans, the latest addition to the PSL, went for the reliable leg-spin of South African Imran Tahir after picking up Shoaib Malik, Kieron Pollard and Kumar Sangakkara during the pre-draft last month.
Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, who were banned for spot-fixing in 2010 during the Lord’s Test, were not picked by any franchise.
Afghanistan players are also unlikely to be available throughout the PSL and hence star leg spinner Rashid Khan was picked only as a supplementary player by Quetta Gladiators.