PCB hopes to end exile with Twenty20 success

Pakistan Cricket Board chief Shaharyar Khan hopes Pakistan ends its international exile with the successful hosting of Pakistan Super League final in Lahore.


In this March 3, 2009 file photo, a Sri Lankan player boards a helicopter at the Gaddafi stadium after an attack by terrorists in Lahore. Pakistan has been by and large abandoned as a venue for international since that incident.   -  AP

Pakistan cricket chief Shaharyar Khan opened the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) on Thursday, describing the glitzy Twenty20 event as key to paving the way for his country's return to hosting international series. Pakistan has been a no-go zone for all of its major rivals since a terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in March 2009.

The Pakistan city is due to host the PSL final on March 5 after all the qualifying games are completed in the United Arab Emirates, the team's home-away-from-home for international cricket for the last eight years. "We are staging the second edition of the PSL with the aim of staging the final in Lahore on March 5," PCB chairman Khan said as he welcomed fans to the Dubai Stadium. The success of the PSL will open the gates for teams to start coming into Pakistan."

Zimbabwe played a one-day series in 2015 but the likes of Australia, England, India and West Indies have all stayed away from Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the second edition of the five-team PSL kicked off with dancing, a light show and music by Jamaican reggae star Shaggy. The opening ceremony started with the national anthems of host country the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan before the crowd was entertained by a group of drummers and songs from all four provinces of Pakistan.

All five captains of the participating teams signed a bat with the oath 'to play clean and fair' written on it before the teams marched past. After the opening ceremony, title holder Islamabad United was taking on Peshawar Zalmi. Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars are the other teams in the tournament.

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