Najam Sethi, the chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management committee, sent a clear message to the players regarding their participation in an exhibition match, scheduled in Quetta before Pakistan Super League (PSL) season 8.
Teams of Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi are scheduled to play an exhibition match at Quetta's Bugti Stadium on February 5. Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead team purple which features Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah, Umar Akmal and their other local players.
Babar Azam to lead team yellow which will have star all-rounder Shahid Khan Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Haris, Danish Aziz, and Saim Ayub alongside their other local players.
Pakistan players, who are participating in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), have already been asked to come back to the country by early February. Wahab, Iftikhar, Naseem, Haris, and Saim, who are named in the squads for the exhibition match, are also currently playing in BPL.
Following reservations of players on returning from BPL, Sethi, while speaking at a local event, strictly asked them to support the national interest.
"The decision to host an exhibition match in Quetta was to put a soft image of Baluchistan which is considered a 'troubled province'. This match is in our national interest and we all have to make it successful," said Sethi while adding that hosting a PSL match in Quetta couldn't be possible.
"Franchises told me that few of their players are not willing to come back from BPL. There are 4-5 players who have requested to let them complete their BPL contract. But, I want to give a clear message, they have to come back as we want them for our national interest,
"It's our contractual right that whenever we want our players, we can call them back any time from anywhere. This happens all around the world. I know, they want to earn money by completing their contract, but we need them to fulfill our national interest," Sethi reiterated.
The chairman management committee also requested team owners Nadeem Omar (Quetta Gladiators) and Javed Afridi (Peshawar Zalmi) to make sure every possible support to host a match in Quetta.
"The fans in Quetta are so excited about this match. We can't let them down. We will celebrate this match to the fullest," said Sethi.
"Please, we need your support. We can't afford any hurdle," he told franchise owners.
The exhibition match, in build-up to the PSL 8, will be played on February 5, which is also observed as Kashmir Day countrywide. Tickets for the match will go on sale from January 30. The ticket price is PKR20 each. Fans can buy tickets from Bolan Cricket Stadium, Bugti Stadium, Jan Mall, Mariabad (Gulzari Travels), and Airport Road (Almehmood Mart).