The immense success of Pakistan Super League is a pride for the whole nation. All and sundry involved with the entreprise right from the players to the grounds men to the security staff to the cleaning staff to the security staff and foremost of all the PCB truly deserved kudos and great commendations. Alongside, we as a nation, owe our special thanks and gratitude to the international cricketers of all the cricketing nations who have become part of the great saga and added to the glory of the sport and the pride of us Pakistanis. Its really heartening to see one of the greatest cricketing sportsman Sir Vivian Richards sitting, cheering and steering on our benches. Great names Sangakara, Kevin Peterson, Shane Watson, Ravi Bopara, the playful Danny Morrison and our own Rambo Ramiz Raja are the heart of the epic.
Our sportsmen have been great and magical contributors to any sporting arena. Cricket has been one of the major beneficiary. Cricket owes us a lot. Whether it is our little master resisting the great West Indians on their home ground our the Fuzzled Kiwis, whether the Lord heroics of the our Asian Breadman or our obsession of winning the world cup, international cricket is incomplete without Pakistan. Without our Ws, our Boom Boom, our Rawalpindi Express, our doosras, our reverse swings, the skyline of cricket will be drab and dark. The PSL is yet another luminary of Pakistan to the game.
The pinnacle of the saga is in the limelight for venue. On one side is the wish of the nation to see the action on its own soil while on the other is the security concern of the foreigners. At stake are the doors of international cricket in Pakistan. A successful holding of the grand finale in Pakistan will be step forward towards that end. It has been a very long time that international cricket has stayed away from the fans and grounds of Pakistan. A sizeable part of our population- the youth-have been denied the real joy of live cricket and the heroics of the great sportsmen. Celluloid and screens of any quality, any technology and any sophistication will not be able to substitute or replicate the sensory joy of presence in the ground.
Trust is built on the scaffolding of toil, blood and sacrifice. It takes years to build but is obliterated in seconds. Pakistan has borne enough of punishment for the Sri Lankan attack fiasco, The incident washed away the great risks and sacrifices Pakistan cricketers have taken for cricket. Despite of real, material and substantial threats of all types from the Indian soil, we dared to play there in all formats and all forms of cricket. We never shied from meeting our obligation of visiting India and we never fully discharged our duty of providing the best entertainment to sports lovers across the border. Sri Lanka, was a much more dangerous place because of the Tamil problem. Pakistan bravado withstood the threat. When no other nation was ready to visit the island, Pakistan went there again and again and again to build the confidence of the suffering war ravaged country. Neither was it about money, nor fame nor any other gain. When no other nation was willing to take field, Pakistan risked valuable lives to inhabit the barren fields. The joy and life on Sri Lankan fields owes a lot to Pakistan.
Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe are other nations where Pakistan regularly and frequently played for the sake of cricket and sportsmanship. Without Pakistan cricket would not have been what it is in these countries what it is today. Cricket, confidence and trust were the objectives, the outcome and the winners. Pakistan has been a major conduit of international cricket, a vital bridge of the aspirants to the arena of international cricket and a very important pillar of cricket for everyone everywhere.
Terror has not left any soil untouched. No nation, irrespective of the level of its advancements in technology, techniques and resources can claim complete control and perfect security. Walls, restrictions, searches, scrutiny, the entire gamut of security actions have not been sufficient to entirely inoculate the United States, Europe and so many others from the vagaries of terror. However, life has continued on the normal with adjustments, precautions and protective measures. No moots, no fixtures, no carnivals were annulled. However, Pakistan stands alone.
Despite of assurances, guarantees and manifest will to do anything to safeguard any visitor, the trust is not coming back. Having fought and defeated a plethora of internal and external threats, Pakistan qualifies to stand amongst the safest nations. An active contributor to international peacekeeping efforts in all corners of the world, there can hardly be any other nation that can match her experience an contribution in bringing security and peace to the world. Pakistan has fought the war of the world all alone by itself. It deserves due respect, recognition and regard for the endeavour and the toil.
Life is dear and is lived only once. No life is cheap. Life needs to be secured and protected at all costs. Pakistan has made all assurances for the provision of fool proof security to foreign guests. However, the more we increase the standard, quality and range of our security measures, the more are the foreigners avoiding to visit Pakistan.
Once again the PCB and the Pakistani nation is in the same quandary. The limbo looms. Participation in PSL is in full zeal and zest but as we are nearing the final the clouds of uncertainty looms. Its decision time, not only by the PCB but by the ICC and all the sportsmen present in the carnival. The very best in our eyes is the final game in Lahore. This will be the door opener for international cricket in Pakistan. It will be a new birth and anew life for cricket not only in Pakistan but internationally. However, if this is not possible alternates of equal value can still be explored and availed.
Cricket is very well known to be a game of chance, someday is your day and someday is someone else’s day. A true champion is the one who displays consistency. The tri-nation series held annually in Australia awards the championship on the basis of best of three matches, a practice in other sports also. On this pattern the PCB can plan best of three finals for the PSL. The first of the series with national players can be played in Lahore, followed by another one in Sharjah or Dubai and if need be a third final in Karachi. This option besides deciding the true champion will bring the entertainment home also.
Tailpiece. The PSL by itself is a great carnival and saga could have reached the highest grandeur by the classics of Indian batters, as is the case of IPL where Pakistani players won prominence in the first edition. Let sports be above everything.
Arshed G.Durrani, Freelance contributor