The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday decided to go ahead with Lahore as the venue for the final of the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). The final will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium as planned, despite the security situtation in the country deteriorating following a recent spate of terrorist attacks. The decision to go ahead with the plan was announced by PSL Chairman Najam Sethi after a meeting with the franchise owners of the league in Dubai. A PCB statement stated the team owners reinforced their solidarity and conviction with the decision of taking the final to Lahore.
"It has been heart-warming to see the dedication of all the owners to the cause of taking cricket back home and there is a realisation that this final will be the first step in opening the gates to international teams starting to make the journey again. We are all committed to this mission and wish to have a thoroughly entertaining final where it should happen - in Lahore," Sethi said after the meeting.
The franchise owners will now talk to their foreign signings to find out if they are willing to travel to Lahore for the final if their teams qualify for it.
In case none of the foreign players presently in the PSL want to travel to Lahore the, PCB will hold another players' draft on February 25 with a back up list of players to give franchises the chance to reinforce their teams.
According to Sethi the back up list includes many of those players who have shown consent to play in Lahore but the list is short on quality and big names.
The list includes plenty of unknown names and those belonging to associate member countries including Rohan Mustafa, Devon Thomas, Jayson Muhammad, Shane Shillingford, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Shahriar Nafees, Anamul Haq, David Malan, Morne Van Wyck among others.
Others in the list include, Sachitra Senanayake, Seekuge Prasanna, Jeevan Mendis, Alex Wakely, Joshua Cobb, Nikhil Dutta, Azeem Rafiq, Danza Hyatt, Krishmar Santokie, Tino Best, Phil Mustard, Fidel Edwards, Elton Chigumbura, Max Waller, Peter Trego, Darren Stevens, Richard Levi, Miguel Cummins, Asghar Stanikzai, Dawlat Zardan, Nawroz Mangal, Farveez Maharoof, Kusal Mendis, Steve Taylor, Yasir Arafat, Rayad Emrit, Jade Dernbach, Owais Shah, Azharullah and Soumaya Sarkar.
The PCB's plan to host the final has been rocked twice this month, first when a suicide bomber struck in Lahore outside the Punjab Assembly, killing 15 people and then a suicide bomber blew himself up at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan in Sindh province killing around 88 people and maiming 200 others.
There have also been a series of other terrorist attacks in Peshawar and tribal agencies, prompting the Pakistan government and security agencies along with army to initiate a crackdown on militants and banned outfits.
(With inputs from PTI)