Hosting the PSL final in Lahore is a bad idea

Published: March 1, 2017

Having been under attack twice in a week recently, Lahore city is in danger of having been attacked once again.

After continuous hype and controversy, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has finally given the go-ahead to hosting the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore on March 5th. Following the announcement, many international players have decided not to participate if their team reaches the final. Adding to that, the famous panel of international commentators headed by the likes of Danny Morrison and Ian Bishop are also not traveling to Pakistan with the rest of the crew. So the real question that still remains unanswered is, is hosting the final in Lahore really worth it?

Here are three reasons why the decision of hosting the PSL final in Pakistan could backfire big time:

1. PSL broadcasting company pulls out of final

Following the footsteps of international players and commentators, the UK-based broadcasting company, Sunset and Vine has annulled their contract with the PSL and have refused to participate in the final. Adding to that, firms that were hired to facilitate hawk-eye technology and spider-cam have also decided to not partake in the event.

The final will be broadcasted without the use of such technology with there being a strong likelihood of a drone camera being used instead of the spider-cam. As emergency replacement, the Dubai-based Innovative Production Group will take over the broadcast production of the PSL final.

One of the most attractive features of the PSL was the graphics and the impressive use of technology, courtesy of Sunset and Vine. After their withdrawal, however, we may not witness the same crisp quality with different camera angles that we have been used to seeing since the start of the league.

2. Unequal competition

The withdrawal of key international players means that the final may prove to be a lacklustre one considering the quality of players leaving their franchises. Supposedly, if the Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi reach the final, Karachi’s international players including the likes of Chris Gayle, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have already refused to play, along with Quetta Gladiators’ foreign players Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, and Tymal Mills. Hence, if Zalmi players like Darren Sammy and Chris Jordan decide to come and play, Zalmi is likely to have an upper hand.

There is also a belief that Najam Sethi should consider recruiting local players. Although the idea is worth giving a second thought to, the element of excitement and thrill that the international players brought to the field may well be gone.

3. Evident security threats

Even though the Punjab government has given the green signal to host the final in Lahore, there is still a huge risk owing to the deteriorating security conditions of Lahore. Having been under attack twice in a week recently, the city is in danger of having been attacked once again. Furthermore, it is justified for players like Sangakkara and Jayawardene to not participate in the final as the two players were present in the team bus in Lahore when it was attacked eight years ago.

Not being too sceptical here, but if (God Forbid, and I hope I am wrong) something happens to the fans or the players, we can say goodbye to the hopes and dreams of getting international cricket back to Pakistan once and for all. Backing the claim of many like me, former World Cup winning captain turned politician, Imran Khan said in a recent statement that thinking of hosting the PSL final in Lahore is “madness”.

“God forbid, if any blast takes place in Lahore, there will be no cricket in Pakistan in the next 10 years. This is madness considering the situation here. In my view, it is a terrible idea. We want to hold this match by calling in army and blocking roads and there will be high security. This will not send a good message.”

The primary reason of hosting the PSL final in Lahore was to bring international cricket back to Pakistan. But if the players, along with the commentators and the broadcasting company, are too afraid to even think about traveling to Pakistan, what’s the point of hosting the final if you are only going to recruit local players? According to Imran,

“What’s the point of holding the PSL final in Lahore? It isn’t even an international match.”

I, for one, am in no position to blame the players who have or are thinking of withdrawing from the final, simply because of the fact that Lahore has been under the terrorists’ radar for the past two weeks.

This is one of the few times when I am hoping and praying that whatever is going on in my head turns out to be wrong. I really hope I am wrong, and everything leading up to and after the final unfolds in peace.

Who do you think will win the 2017 PSL semi final?

     View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Raacikh Asghar

Raacikh Asghar

The author is a student of Political Science and has a keen interest in cricket. He also worked for The Nation's Sports Web Desk.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Keyboard Soldier

    All these skeptics – much like the author above – are trying to pitch in their 20 cents, in case, if things hit the fan, they can have their, “I told you so,” moment.

    Mr. Imran Khan is part of this foolish crowd. Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    Wrong message spreads quickly and mostly. If there is a blast then people already know what message will spread. If there is no blast then message will spread that Pakistan had to employee so much security, safety arrangements and military just for a tiny match. Pictures of high security will induce fear. This will show that how unsafe Pakistan is. Decisions should be based on logic and practicalities not on emotions. If even at start they made mind to host match in Dubai then there was no big loss. They might have made match boring, did spend a huge on security and gain is unpredictable.Recommend

  • JB

    I agree with the author. Having the PSL final in Lahore amidst the army and loads of police would not show Pakistan is safe for cricket; in fact the world would think the opposite really.
    @Disqus424987885906:disqus You can call this crowd foolish all you want, but Imran Khan and the author are both realists. If there are no international players in the PSL final, you might as well call it a local competition altogether. There is no denying the fact that the main attraction of PSL is not the cricket itself, it is the participation of international cricketers along with the local talent. If the former is not there, then it takes away the charm of the PSL.Recommend

  • munib

    Imran Khan just needs any point to take on the Gov.

    If Gov had decided not to have the final in LHR, the same IK take on gov and say Gov is showing that our Army is not capable, our police is not capable and thus giving a bad name to country.

    Now that the gov has decided to hold it in LHR, he is on other side of the fence.Recommend

  • Haider

    It is now or never situation. PSL final in Lahore if is a success then the first two problems would vanish in the future. Maybe in PSL 3 bigger international stars would come to Pakistan owing to the successful Lahore final, Recommend

  • Humza

    A nation cannot allow itself to be bullied by a few people who bomb innocent civilians. This should be the message and this is why the PSL match should continue as planned. This type of mindless criminality and terrorism also takes place in Europe and North America but people there do not allow themselves to be bullied. Yes there are security concerns and the foreign paid cowards who commit these crimes for foreign agencies are going to be active but no society can give the satisfaction to criminals. Now more than ever, the nation should stand together and say we are not giving in to cowards and life will go on and the anti state cowards have not installed fear. Imran Khan and his supporters need to see the big picture. Pakistan’s standing according to all western financial houses is improving and the country is being ranked a middle income nation with CPEC creating a lot of positive sentiment. This is what the anti state criminals want to stop to waken the economy and society. By changing venues out of fear, you are giving in to the wishes of the cowards who bombed Lahore and Sehwan. The public should work with security to ensure that Lahore remains the safe and fun city it has always been.Recommend

  • Lalit

    Hosting any event in Pakistan is a bad idea ! Better to host it next door in India.Recommend

  • Aizaz Khan

    At least this media should play positive role.. Talking about wrong things always.. Bloggers, show some respect to this cause..Recommend

  • Rohan

    Hosting the good taliban is a good idea though for the punjabi establishmentRecommend

  • Parvez

    This decision had very little to do with cricket……and everything to do with politics.
    It’s not a logical decision ……it’s a gamble pure and simple. The risk to benefit ratio 6 : 1Recommend

  • Nana

    This blog has been written to give the chance to bullies so that they can vent their emotions by bullying us.Recommend