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Pakistan Hopes to Stage T20 League Final at Home

by AFP

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PCB chairman urges International Cricket Council to help set up a fund to ease country’s losses suffered over lack of home matches.

Pakistan hopes to host its Twenty20 league final on home soil next year if authorities are able to allay security fears of international players, an official said Saturday, as the country’s cricket chief appealed for the establishment of a fund to ease the losses incurred in the absence of home matches.

Pakistan has not staged major international cricket events on its home grounds—barring a few limited over matches against lowly ranked Zimbabwe last year—since terrorists attacks targeted the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009. Following the attacks, they have been forced to stage their home series on neutral venues in the United Arab Emirates, where they also hosted the inaugural Pakistan Super League (PSL) in February this year.

PSL Chairman Najam Sethi said all efforts would be done to host the PSL final at home. “We will try our best to stage the final of the second edition of PSL in Pakistan,” said Sethi after chairing a meeting in Lahore.

Five teams competed in the inaugural league which also featured top names like West Indians Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Darren Sammy, Australian Shane Watson and England’s Kevin Pietersen. But they all refused to come to Pakistan, a trend which is likely to be followed next year as foreigners have reservations about coming to terror-hit Pakistan.

However, Sethi said the success of the inaugural PSL was encouraging. “We are buoyed by the success of PSL last year and things are now getting into an exciting phase for season two. I can promise we will leave no stone unturned in bringing unparalleled cricketainment to the fans,” said Sethi.

Twenty20 leagues are fast getting popular across the cricketing world since India launched its cash-rich Indian Premier League in 2008.

In the U.K. on Saturday, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Shaharyar Khan called on the International Cricket Council during the group’s annual conference to help set up a fund to ease the losses the country has suffered in the absence of home matches.

“PCB has circulated its case during the meeting that we deserve a fund as we incur losses by playing our home matches in U.A.E. and ICC has promised to consider the request,” Khan told AFP by phone from Edinburgh.

Even before the Lahore attacks on the Sri Lankan team, Pakistan had been a “no go” area for international teams, resulting in the relocation of the 2008 Champions Trophy and a share of matches in the 2011 World Cup over security fears.

The Pakistan-India bilateral series, considered a moneymaking event, has also not taken place since 2007 as New Delhi has barred its team from participating in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks of 2008.

Khan said Pakistan is losing on all fronts, with fears growing that younger players will suffer by not being able to watch stars compete on their home grounds. “Look, we have also not been able to host any ICC events nor are we scheduled to host in the next allocation until 2023, so we are losing big money,” said Khan, who was backed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to remain in his post until August 2017.

In 2008 the ICC formed a Task Team to help Pakistan revive international cricket at home. “The Pakistan Task team under Giles Clarke will also look into the matter of setting up funds and that will allow us to develop our cricket,” said Khan. “We are also doing our best efforts to bring international cricket at home and hosting the Zimbabwe series was part of those efforts.”

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