Security experts visited the National Stadium in Karachi on Monday (12 February), to inspect the security arrangements in the city, which is scheduled to host the final of the third season of Pakistan Super League (PSL 2018) next month in March (25 March). The final match of Pakistan’s T20 league will kick off on 22nd February, and the PSL 2018 Final would be Karachi’s first international match in nine years.
Majority of PSL 2018 fixtures to take place in UAE
Although the majority of PSL 2018 matches are set to take place in United Arab Emirates (UAE), some of the matches would be hosted by Pakistan – Lahore and Karachi – in the last week of PSL 2018 fixtures (20, 21, and 25 March), with the PSL 2018 Final taking place in Karachi on 25th March.
Experts impressed, but no ‘final word’ for PSL 2018 final
Security experts Reg Dickason and Richard Dennis thoroughly inspected the security arrangements in Karachi, which will host the final fixture of PSL 2018. The officials were also briefed beforehand about the security arrangements, by the Pakistan security and government officials. As reported by mid-day, Reg Dickason said,
“Whatever we have witnessed today (12 February), 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.”
Security team’s report key for revival of cricket in Pakistan
The security team’s report will be key for Karachi to host the PSL 2018 final. Pakistan had witnessed it’s international cricket get suspended after a militant attack in 2009, which had made the Sri Lankan cricket team it’s victim, injuring seven of the visiting team’s players, apart from killing 8 civilians.
Ever since, Pakistan national cricket team has played almost all of it’s home cricket matches in the UAE.
Authorities have been trying to slowly return international cricket to the country. Resultantly, the final of the Pakistan Super League last year was played in Lahore. However, a number of cricket stalwarts chose to opt out because of the security concerns.
Acting on their losses, Pakistan made unprecedented security arrangements for the PSL 2018 matches, with 20,000 military and police officials guarding the visiting players and the stadium.
PSL 2018 Fixtures and Teams
The League Stage will be held from 22nd February to 16th March, following which, the Pakistan Super League 2018 Qualifiers will take place on 18, 20, and 21 March, with PSL 2018 Final taking place in Karachi on 25th March. All six PSL teams – Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultan, Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators – have foreign players in their squads for the third season. Each team can field a maximum of four foreign players per match, similar to what is the current rule in the Indian Premier League (IPL 2018).